Florida at Washington

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Willingham charges offense as Marlins get past Nats

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Young and carefree, the Florida Marlins don't let setbacks bother them.

They simply deal with a problem and move on, much as they did after starting the season 20 games under .500.

Their starting pitcher walks the first three batters of the game? Hunker down and get out of the inning.

Their four-run lead vanishes in the bottom of the seventh? Get right back on top in the eighth.

Those two examples came Thursday night, when Josh Willingham's four hits included a homer, fellow rookie Dan Uggla added a two-run shot and Florida beat the Washington Nationals 9-6.

Another rookie, shortstop Hanley Ramirez, made a leaping grab of pinch-hitter Alex Escobar's liner up the middle with two runners on for the final out.

"I'd almost say we don't know any better. It's just what's kind of happened all year long," said Willingham, whose 17th homer made it 3-0 in the fourth. "That's kind of what you get with a young team, but we're always going to fight to the end regardless of the score. That kind of sums up what we did tonight. They had their momentum and we came back and took it from them."

The Marlins led 4-0 and 6-2, then allowed the Nationals to bat around in a four-run seventh against relievers Sergio Mitre and Brian Moehler (6-8) that tied the game. But Florida scored two in the eighth off Ryan Wagner (0-1). Willingham led off with a single, Miguel Olivo also singled and Wes Helms delivered a two-run double.

"We didn't wait around," Helms said.

The Marlins are the youngest club in the majors, and they've used 21 rookies this season; six were in the starting lineup Thursday. Before games, they seem to be a loose bunch, laughing loudly as a dozen watch "Along Came Polly" on the clubhouse TV or cracking each other up while stretching on the field. After Thursday's win, Dontrelle Willis was trying to cajole clubhouse visitors to talk about how impressive his teammates' late-game poise was.

A loss to Tampa Bay on May 21 dropped them to 11-31, but since then the Marlins have gone 42-30, a .583 winning percentage that has them in third place in the NL East, ahead of perennial division champion Atlanta.

Yet another rookie, Anibal Sanchez -- like Ramirez, part of the trade that sent Josh Beckett to the Red Sox -- limited Washington to two runs on five hits, although he walked the first three batters he faced. A popup and 5-4-3 double play got him out of the first inning, drawing boos from the crowd of 21,304.

"To come away with nothing -- that's devastating, really," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.

Alfonso Soriano hit his 36th homer, pausing to admire the shot, in the fifth, and a sacrifice fly made it 4-2.

Florida tacked on two more runs in the seventh, though, when reliever Travis Hughes hit pinch-hitter Cody Ross and gave up Uggla's two-run homer, his 18th of the year. Hughes also threw a wild pitch and plunked Miguel Cabrera on the left elbow.

Washington's big seventh began against Mitre, in his first appearance since coming off the disabled list. He threw 12 pitches -- all balls, going to a 3-0 count with three inside fastballs to Soriano, before hitting him.

"That surprised me when they tried to hit me, but it's part of the game," Soriano said.

Robinson was more upset, saying the umpire should have warned Mitre after the first inside pitch.

"The thing about it is, they were allowed to take four shots at him," Robinson said.

Marlins manager Joe Girardi said Mitre was simply trying to throw inside, Florida's strategy against Soriano. Mitre, a starter who went on the DL in May with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, then walked Felipe Lopez and Ryan Zimmerman on four pitches apiece.

He left, and Moehler gave up three run-scoring hits to make it 6-all. Despite all that, Moehler earned the win with his two innings of work, and Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

"They don't ever feel like they're out of a game or like they can't come back and score more runs," Girardi said. "They just have a ton of energy and this time of year it pays off a little bit."


  • The Nationals released OF Luis Matos and plan to recall RHP Jason Bergmann from Triple-A New Orleans.
  • In the third, Uggla singled and Cabrera smacked a sinking liner to left. But Soriano made a shoetop catch, then threw the ball to first to beat Uggla back to the bag for a double play -- the ex-infielder's major league-leading 19th outfield assist. "Every day, I get surprised by my play in left field," Soriano said.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Josh Willingham is one of many bright spots for the Marlins. He goes 4-for-5 with his 17th homer.  (AP)
Josh Willingham is one of many bright spots for the Marlins. He goes 4-for-5 with his 17th homer. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Willingham
AB 5
R 3
H 4
HR 1

A. Soriano
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1

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Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS3000111
Dan Uggla, 2B4122102
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4021001
Mike Jacobs, 1B4000014
    Sergio Mitre, P0000000
    Brian Moehler, P0000000
   a- Alfredo Amezaga, PH-LF0100100
Josh Willingham, LF5341000
    Joe Borowski, P0000000
Joe Borchard, RF5111033
Miguel Olivo, C5121011
Reggie Abercrombie, CF5121004
Anibal Sanchez, P1000000
   b- Cody Ross, PH0100000
    Wes Helms, 1B1012000
a-walked for Moehler in the 9th
b-hit by pitch for Sanchez in the 7th
2B - Joe Borchard (, Astacio), Wes Helms (, Wagner)
HR - Dan Uggla (, Hughes), Josh Willingham (, Astacio)
SH - Hanley Ramirez (), Anibal Sanchez ()
RBI - Dan Uggla 2 (), Miguel Cabrera (), Josh Willingham (), Joe Borchard (), Miguel Olivo (), Reggie Abercrombie (), Wes Helms 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Dan Uggla 2 (), Miguel Cabrera (), Miguel Olivo (), Wes Helms 2 ()
CS - Reggie Abercrombie (, 2nd base by Astacio/Schneider)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Cabrera-Uggla-Jacobs, H. Ramirez-Helms
Florida Marlins
Anibal Sanchez 6522421
Sergio Mitre0033200
Brian Moehler (BS,; W,-) 2411030
Joe Borowski (S,) 1100120
HBP - Church (by Anibal Sanchez), Soriano (by Sergio Mitre)
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 94-55, Sergio Mitre 12-0, Brian Moehler 33-22, Joe Borowski 22-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 7-8, Brian Moehler 2-0
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 27, Sergio Mitre 3, Brian Moehler 9, Joe Borowski 5
Washington Nationals
Alfonso Soriano, LF3221102
Felipe Lopez, SS3210211
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3010201
Nick Johnson, 1B3113113
Austin Kearns, RF5110005
Ryan Church, CF4010033
Brian Schneider, C4011112
Bernie Castro, 2B3000002
   a- Daryle Ward, PH1011000
    Ryan Wagner, P0000000
    Saul Rivera, P0000000
   b- Alex Escobar, PH1000002
Pedro Astacio, P2010000
   c- Marlon Anderson, PH1000001
    Travis Hughes, P0000000
   d- Damian Jackson, PH-2B1000012
a-doubled for Castro in the 7th
b-lined out for Rivera in the 9th
c-grounded out for Astacio in the 6th
d-struck out for Hughes in the 7th
2B - Daryle Ward (, Moehler)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (, Sanchez)
SF - Nick Johnson ()
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (), Nick Johnson 3 (), Brian Schneider (), Daryle Ward ()
2-OUT RBI - Brian Schneider (), Daryle Ward ()
Team LOB - 11
Outfield Assists - Alfonso Soriano 1
DP - Soriano-N. Johnson
Washington Nationals
Pedro Astacio 6844141
Travis Hughes 1122001
Ryan Wagner (L,-) 1322110
Saul Rivera 1211110
HBP - Ross (by Travis Hughes), Cabrera (by Travis Hughes)
WP - Travis Hughes (), Ryan Wagner ()
Pitches-Strikes - Pedro Astacio 90-62, Travis Hughes 18-9, Ryan Wagner 30-19, Saul Rivera 29-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Pedro Astacio 5-7, Travis Hughes 1-2, Saul Rivera 2-0
Batters Faced - Pedro Astacio 25, Travis Hughes 6, Ryan Wagner 7, Saul Rivera 6
Game Information
Attendance - 21304
Game Time - 3:20
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Kerwin Danley