WASHINGTON -- Hours after learning that Major League Baseball finally agreed to sell their team for $450 million, the Washington Nationals went out and showed off some of their worst traits.
The starting pitching was erratic. The clutch hitting was nowhere to be found. The crowd was thin. And yet another home loss went in the books -- against the low-budget, rookie-laden Florida Marlins, no less.
One of those rookies, Hanley Ramirez, delivered a go-ahead, pinch-hit RBI single off closer Chad Cordero in the ninth, and Florida beat Washington 6-5 on Wednesday to end a five-game losing streak.
It was the first time this season that Ramirez, acquired from Boston in the Josh Beckett trade, was not in the starting lineup.
"You know, you try to give a guy a day off, let him relax his mind," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said, "and he's in the biggest situation in the game."
It was a tedious game that lasted nearly four hours and looked exactly like what it was: A game between two teams that ended the night with two fewer combined victories (16) than the NL East-leading New York Mets.
There were 13 walks -- including one with the bases loaded by Florida starter Brian Moehler -- three wild pitches and three hit batsmen. There were 23 runners left on base. Washington stranded 13, leaving the bases loaded in the third and hitting into a bases-loaded double play to end the fifth.
"It's probably been our biggest fault this year, hitting with people on base," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.
At about 4:30 p.m., the Nationals received official word that Major League Baseball would sell the team to Maryland-based real estate developer Theodore Lerner, whose group includes former Braves executive Stan Kasten. At 7:06 p.m., Tony Armas Jr. threw the game's first pitch. Less than an hour later, he exited to boos after the Marlins took a 5-0 lead.
"I let my team down," Armas said. "The offense and bullpen did their job, and I wasn't able to do my job."
True, but Washington came all the way back to tie it on Brian Schneider's first homer of the season, leading off the seventh.
Then, in the ninth, Washington's fifth pitcher, Mike Stanton (1-3), gave up a leadoff double to Dan Uggla. One out and one intentional walk later, Stanton gave way to Cordero, who was an All-Star in 2005 and led the majors with 47 saves.
Cordero struck out Wes Helms for the second out, but then Ramirez lifted a blooper to center on a full count to end an 0-for-14 drought.
"We haven't won for like seven days," Ramirez said. "I was like, 'Let's do it."'
It made a winner of Ricky Nolasco (2-1), who pitched a perfect eighth a day after giving up four runs in just two-thirds of an inning. Joe Borowski threw the ninth for his fourth save.
There was a bit of promising news for Washington, aside from the ownership progress. Jose Guillen had two hits and two RBI; he came in on a 2-for-27 slide that dropped his batting average 71 points in eight days, down to .220 entering Wednesday. Schneider also had two hits and drove in three runs; he came in hitting .198.
Armas was yanked with one out in the third inning. He gave up five hits -- including two homers -- hit two batters and threw a wild pitch. Reggie Abercrombie hit a two-run shot and Helms hit first homer of the season.
It all unfolded before an announced crowd of 21,918, the fifth consecutive Nationals home game with fewer fans than the worst turnout in 2005. Washington dropped to 1-8 at RFK Stadium this season, and 1-7 in one-run games. The Nationals are 9-19 overall, losers of nine of their last 11.
"It's a good feeling to know you do have ownership now that will be in place shortly," Robinson said. "You can work and perform or whatever -- or lack of performance -- just like anybody else."
Florida's Mike Jacobs was ejected from the dugout in the fifth by plate umpire Larry Young. Girardi said he didn't hear what Jacobs said. ... Florida LF Josh Willingham had three hits, including two doubles. ... On Tuesday, Nolasco allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning and was charged with the loss against Philadelphia.