|Washington (63-77) «||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||0||x||6||11||0|
WASHINGTON -- When the 2007 season began, many around baseball predicted the Washington Nationals would lose 105, perhaps 110 games. With their fifth consecutive victory, 6-4 against the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night, the Nationals are assured of avoiding triple-digit losses.
Washington's 63rd victory didn't cause any celebration -- even if the Nationals are securely in fourth place in the NL East -- three games ahead of Florida, which lost for the 17th time in the past 21 games.
"I'd rather have a three-game lead than no lead at all," Washington manager Manny Acta said.
Austin Kearns had three hits, including his 13th home run of the season and Wily Mo Pena singled to break a tie in the seventh.
"We knew what the expectations were. We all felt we were better than some people were saying," Kearns said. "I don't think that's any motivation.
"I don't look at it as, 'Let's stay out of last place.' We've got a month to go. Let's finish strong."
With the score tied at 4, Matt Lindstrom (2-4), Florida's fifth pitcher of the evening, retired the first two Washington batters. Kearns singled, advance to second on a wild pitch and scored on Pena's line drive single to center.
Brian Schneider followed with a run-scoring single off Taylor Tankersley.
Each team used seven pitchers, with neither starter lasting past the third inning. Luis Ayala (1-2), the fifth Washington pitcher, earned the victory, pitching a perfect seventh. Jon Rauch struck out the side in the eighth and Chad Cordero pitched out of trouble in the ninth to earn his 31th save in 39 opportunities.
With all the pitching changes, it was a difficult game to play, Schneider believes.
"You had a lot of call-ups out there, a lot of young guys. Every inning, every two innings, they were switching -- just like we were." Schneider said. "It's like: 'Who's this guy?' There's another new guy. They kept coming in and out."
Acta said he's looking forward to Washington's final 22 games -- 19 of them are against NL East leaders New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta. He's hoping that his team will play even better against top-notch competition.
"It's going to get tougher, but we're up to the challenge," Acta said. "The last couple of nights we haven't played our best baseball despite winning the ballgames."
Florida starter Sergio Mitre allowed three runs and could only get two outs in a frightful first inning. Mitre loaded the bases and then gave up a run-scoring single to Ryan Church and bases-loaded walks to Schneider and Robert Fick. After Mitre threw two more balls to Washington starter Tim Redding, Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez had enough and called for Daniel Barone. Barone retired Redding on a ground out.
Gonzalez hasn't made a decision if Mitre, who hasn't won in his past seven starts, will remain in the rotation. Mitre, dazed by his performance, hasn't a clue what's gone wrong.
"If I'm still around, I'll let you know. I'm trying to figure it out myself," Mitre said. "I don't know what to tell you other than I don't know."
The Marlins scored twice in the third, and Redding had to leave with an injury. After Jeremy Hermida drove in Dan Uggla with a double, Miguel Cabrera hit a high chopper Redding tried to field. He couldn't and fell to the ground in pain while Cabrera reached first.
Redding was diagnosed with a right elbow contusion and was replaced by Jonathan Albaladejo, who made his major league debut. He got Josh Willingham to hit into a fielder's choice, scoring Hermida.
Redding will be out seven to 10 days. The injured pitcher was frightened at first, but said he was thankful.
"If I can get back in a timeframe of 10 days, that's unbelievable," Redding said.
"Redding goes out because of an injury and Mitre goes out because of whatever reason -- just couldn't get the job done -- and then it becomes one of those games. It happens," Gonzalez said. "And both clubs had enough pitching to overcome an ugly game. It could've been ugly and it ended up being a pretty interesting game, really."
Kearns hit a home run with one out in the fifth inning off Ross Wolf to make it 4-2.
Florida tied it in the fifth on a two-run home run by Miguel Olivo. It was his 14th and landed off the facing of the left-field mezzanine.
Washington has won seven consecutive games at home against Florida. ... Ramirez was hitless -- ending his hitting streak at 12 games. ... Washington OF Justin Maxwell made his major league debut; he flied out as a pinch-hitter. Maxwell, Washington's second-round draft choice in 2005, was promoted from Class A Potomac on Tuesday.
|Players of the Game|
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|Hanley Ramirez, SS||2||0||0||0||3||0||0||.333|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||5||1||1||0||0||2||4||.247|
|Jeremy Hermida, RF||4||1||2||1||0||0||1||.284|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.315|
|Josh Willingham, LF||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.273|
|Mike Jacobs, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.270|
|Cody Ross, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.331|
|Miguel Olivo, C||2||1||1||2||1||1||0||.232|
|a- Alfredo Amezaga, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.265|
|Sergio Mitre, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.083|
|Daniel Barone, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.125|
|b- Alejandro De Aza, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.222|
|Ross Wolf, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Reggie Abercrombie, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.209|
|Logan Kensing, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Lindstrom, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Taylor Tankersley, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Justin Miller, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|d- Jason Wood, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.265|
|a-struck out for Olivo in the 9th|
|b-struck out for Barone in the 4th|
|c-flied out for Wolf in the 6th|
|d-struck out for Miller in the 9th|
|2B - Jeremy Hermida (25, Redding), Cody Ross (13, C. Cordero)|
|HR - Miguel Olivo (14, Colome)|
|RBI - Jeremy Hermida (49), Josh Willingham (87), Miguel Olivo 2 (51)|
|2-OUT RBI - Miguel Olivo 2 (11)|
|SB - Hanley Ramirez (46, 2nd base off Abreu/Schneider)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - H. Ramirez-Uggla-Jacobs|
|Matt Lindstrom (L,2-4)||0.2||2||2||2||1||0||0||3.43|
|WP - Matt Lindstrom (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Sergio Mitre 31-16, Daniel Barone 30-17, Ross Wolf 21-16, Logan Kensing 8-7, Matt Lindstrom 15-8, Taylor Tankersley 8-5, Justin Miller 12-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daniel Barone 5-0, Ross Wolf 2-3, Logan Kensing 2-0, Matt Lindstrom 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Sergio Mitre 8, Daniel Barone 8, Ross Wolf 8, Logan Kensing 4, Matt Lindstrom 5, Taylor Tankersley 2, Justin Miller 3|
|Felipe Lopez, SS||5||1||1||0||0||2||2||.246|
|Ronnie Belliard, 2B||5||0||1||0||0||1||2||.278|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.270|
|Austin Kearns, RF||4||3||3||1||0||0||0||.269|
|Ryan Church, CF||3||1||1||1||1||0||0||.265|
|Jon Rauch, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chad Cordero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Wily Mo Pena, LF||3||0||1||1||1||2||3||.226|
|Brian Schneider, C||3||0||1||2||1||0||1||.231|
|Robert Fick, 1B||3||0||2||1||1||1||2||.214|
|Tim Redding, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||3||.087|
|Jonathan Albaladejo, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Justin Maxwell, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Winston Abreu, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jesus Colome, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- D'Angelo Jimenez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.154|
|Luis Ayala, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Nook Logan, CF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.271|
|a-flied out for Albaladejo in the 4th|
|b-struck out for Colome in the 6th|
|2B - Robert Fick (6, Kensing)|
|HR - Austin Kearns (13, Wolf)|
|RBI - Austin Kearns (58), Ryan Church (55), Wily Mo Pena (27), Brian Schneider 2 (46), Robert Fick (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - Wily Mo Pena (7), Brian Schneider 2 (10), Robert Fick (1)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Zimmerman-Belliard-Fick|
|Winston Abreu (H,4)||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||6.04|
|Jesus Colome (BS,3)||1||2||2||2||0||0||1||2.93|
|Luis Ayala (W,1-2)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.09|
|Jon Rauch (H,25)||1||0||0||0||0||3||0||3.82|
|Chad Cordero (S,31)||1||1||0||0||1||3||0||3.09|
|WP - Jesus Colome (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tim Redding 53-32, Jonathan Albaladejo 19-14, Winston Abreu 14-7, Jesus Colome 24-15, Luis Ayala 12-8, Jon Rauch 18-12, Chad Cordero 26-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Redding 3-2, Jonathan Albaladejo 1-1, Winston Abreu 1-0, Jesus Colome 1-2, Luis Ayala 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Tim Redding 13, Jonathan Albaladejo 5, Winston Abreu 4, Jesus Colome 5, Luis Ayala 3, Jon Rauch 3, Chad Cordero 5|
|Attendance - 19222|
|Game Time - 3:14|
|Temperature - 86|
|Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Bill Welke|