Adam Conley doesn’t waste time when he’s on the mound. He’s one of the fastest workers in the majors when it comes to getting rid of the ball once he steps on the rubber.
There’s no dawdling.
On Sunday, though, the Nationals turned Conley into a slowpoke.
The Nationals worked the more methodical Conley for seven walks — three of them intentional — as they captured the series with an 8-2 victory at Marlins Park.
“Anybody who knows me knows that’s about my least favorite thing in baseball, is putting a guy on for free,” Conley said. “And seven of those guys got on there today, in my eyes, without earning it. So that’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Ichiro Suzuki tacked on two hits to go with the four he registered on Saturday to push him closer to 3,000 hits. He now has 2,956, placing him 32nd on the all-time list.
But beyond Ichiro, a Giancarlo Stanton fifth-inning single that ended his 19 at-bat hitless streak and a late home run by Justin Bour, the Marlins generated very little offensively against the Nationals’ Max Scherzer (5-3).
“He’s pretty much always effective,” Bour said. “He’s going to come at you with his fastball.”
Scherzer, who struck out 20 two starts ago, made relatively easy work of the Marlins, too. He went eight innings and finished with eight strikeouts.
Conley (3-3) was no match for him. The Nationals struck quickly with a run in the first, added two in the third and knocked him out with three in the sixth.
Along the way, Conley struggled to throw strikes. Though he had never walked more than four batters in a game, and even though he issued three free passes intentionally, he walked the first two hitters in the sixth, both of which ended up scoring when the Nationals put the game out of reach.
“He’s usually quick, quick, quick,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It seems like his tempo was off. They necked him for one [run] early, and he just didn’t seem to be in good rhythm. It seemed like the running game kind of messed with him again today.”
The Milwaukee Brewers stole four bases off Conley two starts back, and Conley became extra cautious when the Nationals had runners aboard on Sunday, which was often the case.
“I was trying to control the running game and maybe at times I was more focused on that than I should have been,” Conley said. “I struggled a little bit getting the leadoff guy out, so there were runners on.”
Ben Revere opened the game with a single and stole second despite Conley’s efforts to hold him at bay. Revere later beat out a bunt single and eventually stole third.
“There was just a lot of traffic today, a lot of guys on,” said Conley, who gave up seven hits — in addition to the seven walks — in 5 1/3 innings.
One of the few bright spots for the Marlins was Stanton, who brought a cheer from the crowd of 24,308 when he stroked a single off Scherzer to lead off the fifth.
Stanton is in the throes of a long slump. He entered Sunday having gone 0 for his last 18 with 15 strikeouts. He struck out in his first at-bat against Scherzer, too, before ending the drought.