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Miami at Washington

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Washington (3-0) «20100030x690

Harper big again as Nats open season with sweep

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- A familiar cast of characters helped the Washington Nationals complete a lopsided, season-opening three-game sweep of the payroll-slashing, talent-trading Miami Marlins.

Now should come more of a test: a visit to the reigning NL Central champion Cincinnati Reds starting Friday.

In Washington's 6-1 victory over Miami in the finale Thursday - the combined series score was 11-1 - Jayson Werth tacked on a three-run homer, Ryan Zimmerman's three hits included a two-run double, Bryce Harper had two more hits, and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann went six innings.

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All were part of the core that won a majors-best 98 games in 2012 and is expected to be in the thick of things this season.

"The window's definitely open for us right now, and hopefully it'll stay open for a long time," Werth said. "But you've got to jump through that window at some point."

His homer in the seventh off reliever Mike Dunn is a sign that his broken left wrist of last season is gaining strength.

"I think you guys are a little bit more worried about my wrist than anybody else," Werth said. "I feel pretty confident in where I'm at."

Harper had another eventful day, collecting two hits for the third consecutive game, getting thrown out trying to steal third with cleanup hitter Zimmerman at the plate, and taking an elbow to the chin (or, as manager Davey Johnson put it, his "coconut") while scoring a run.

"Didn't really hurt too bad," Harper said. "Just was seeing if it was bleeding at the plate. Feels fine, though."

Zimmermann (1-0) followed sterling outings by Nationals starters Stephen Strasburg (seven scoreless innings Monday) and Gio Gonzalez (six scoreless innings Wednesday) by giving up only one run despite allowing eight hits. The Marlins got at least one runner on in every inning against Zimmermann.

"Obviously," Johnson noted, "Zim didn't have his greatest stuff."

Still, it was enough to make sure, in Zimmermann's words, that the Nationals would have "a little momentum going to Cincinnati."

Relievers Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen finished up, and Washington's bullpen has six shutout innings so far.

At least Miami finally scored, ending a 19-inning run drought in the second Thursday on Justin Ruggiano's first-pitch homer to right off Zimmermann. The St. Louis Cardinals began the 1943 season with 26 scoreless innings against Cincinnati, the post-1900 major league record, according to STATS LLC.

"It's three games. I don't think anyone here is really panicking," Ruggiano said.

The Marlins have a payroll that's under $45 million this season after trading away several top players, including Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez. And yet this isn't exactly a new problem. Last season, they batted .244 - the worst average in franchise history - and scored 3.8 runs per game - their fewest since a 3.6 average in 1993, their expansion year.

"Definitely happy with the way we swung the bats today," said rookie manager Mike Redmond, whose Marlins are 15 for 90 so far, a .167 batting average. "We've just got to keep hanging in there and we'll get that big hit to push us over the top."

Miami's pitching was solid this series, and Wade LeBlanc (0-1) limited Washington to three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in five innings.

But Werth doubled his team's offensive output with one swing. The Nationals' transformation from a 100-loss club in 2008 and 2009 to a popular World Series has been quick, too.

"We've gone from an up-and-coming team to a (division) championship team," Werth said, "in a very short period of time."

Notes

  • During Washington-area MASN's TV coverage of the game, viewers were shown side-by-side video of the swings of Harper and a certain guy who went by the name Babe Ruth.
  • While Harper and Zimmerman are both batting .500, 1B Adam LaRoche, SS Ian Desmond and 2B Danny Espinosa are a combined 1 for 31 after going 0 for 12 Thursday. Desmond's single Monday in the opener is the lone hit among that trio.
  • RHP Chris Young agreed to a minor league contract with the Nationals. He will report to the team's spring training site in Florida for some bullpen sessions before joining Triple-A Syracuse.
  • The Marlins plan to put 1B Casey Kotchman on the 15-day DL on Friday with a strained left hamstring.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Jayson Werth watches his three-run homer leave the park as the Nationals complete a season-opening sweep.  (USATSI)
Jayson Werth watches his three-run homer leave the park as the Nationals complete a season-opening sweep. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Washington

R. Zimmerman
AB 3
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Washington

J. Werth
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Miami Marlins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Juan Pierre, LF4000004 .182
Placido Polanco, 3B4000000 .182
Giancarlo Stanton, RF2000210 .111
Greg Dobbs, 1B4010012 .167
Justin Ruggiano, CF4111002 .250
Rob Brantly, C4020000 .286
Donovan Solano, 2B3020101 .333
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS4020002 .200
Wade LeBlanc, P2000014 .000
   a- Austin Kearns, PH1000001 .000
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Mike Dunn, P0000000 .000
    Steve Cishek, P0000000 .000
   b- Chris Coghlan, PH1000000 .000
Totals3318133  
a-grounded out for LeBlanc in the 6th
b-flied out for Cishek in the 9th
Batting
HR - Justin Ruggiano (1, Zimmermann)
RBI - Justin Ruggiano (1)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Wade LeBlanc (1, Throwing), Giancarlo Stanton (1, Throwing)
Miami Marlins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Wade LeBlanc (L,0-1) 5532250 3.60
Jon Rauch 1.1211000 6.75
Mike Dunn 0.2222111 10.80
Steve Cishek 1000020 0.00
WP - Mike Dunn (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Wade LeBlanc 93-58, Jon Rauch 16-13, Mike Dunn 21-13, Steve Cishek 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade LeBlanc 4-5, Jon Rauch 3-1, Steve Cishek 1-0
Batters Faced - Wade LeBlanc 21, Jon Rauch 6, Mike Dunn 5, Steve Cishek 3
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF3210100 .333
Jayson Werth, RF4223011 .167
Bryce Harper, LF4121010 .500
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3032100 .500
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000003 .000
Ian Desmond, SS4000022 .100
Danny Espinosa, 2B4000021 .000
Wilson Ramos, C3110100 .400
Jordan Zimmermann, P2000021 .000
    Henry Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
   a- Stephen Lombardozzi, PH0000000 .000
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
    Craig Stammen, P0000000 .000
Totals3169638  
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Rodriguez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Zimmerman (1, LeBlanc)
HR - Jayson Werth (1, Dunn)
SH - Stephen Lombardozzi (1)
RBI - Jayson Werth 3 (3), Bryce Harper (3), Ryan Zimmerman 2 (3)
CS - Bryce Harper (1, 3rd base by LeBlanc/Brantly)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Desmond-LaRoche, Desmond-LaRoche
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jordan Zimmermann (W,1-0) 6811211 1.50
Henry Rodriguez (H,1) 1000010 0.00
Tyler Clippard 1000010 0.00
Craig Stammen 1000100 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Zimmermann 89-60, Henry Rodriguez 12-7, Tyler Clippard 9-7, Craig Stammen 11-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Zimmermann 11-5, Henry Rodriguez 1-1, Craig Stammen 1-1
Batters Faced - Jordan Zimmermann 27, Henry Rodriguez 3, Tyler Clippard 3, Craig Stammen 3
Game Information
Attendance - 25123
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 47
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Eric Cooper