Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chien-Ming Wang faces Brad Hand today at Nationals Park.
The challenge will be upon Chien-Ming Wang this afternoon to try to reverse the trend. The right-hander continues to tease us with glimpses of what he can be, though aside from one dominant outing in Chicago, he's struggled to put it all together.
Rookie left-hander Brad Hand (1-7, 4.02 ERA) gets the start for the Marlins. He'll face a Nats lineup that includes Jayson Werth in center field and Jonny Gomes in right field.
Updates to come...
MARLINS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: MASN2, Ch. 50
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 66 degrees, Wind 13 mph in from RF
STARTING LINEUPS1:37 p.m. -- And we're underway with a strike from Chien-Ming Wang to Emilio Bonifacio. Another overcast, cool day here at Nationals Park. 64 degrees at first pitch
SS Ian Desmond
CF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
RF Jonny Gomes
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Chris Marrero
C Jesus Flores
P Chien-Ming Wang
LF Emilio Bonifacio
2B Omar Infante
RF Mike Stanton
3B Greg Dobbs
1B Gaby Sanchez
CF Bryan Petersen
SS Donnie Murphy
C Brett Hayes
P Brad Hand
1:43 p.m. -- Nice top of the first for Wang. He retired the side on 14 pitches, struck out Bonifacio looking at a 90-mph sinker and got Mike Stanton to ground out weakly to short to end the frame. Whatever Wang has done the last two times out to overcome his first-inning bugaboo has worked.
1:57 p.m. -- Two innings down, two strikeouts and nobody's hit the ball out of the infield against Wang so far.
2:07 p.m. -- And the Nats take a 1-0 lead as Jonny Gomes leads off the bottom of the second with a double to deep center, shows nice hustle to advance to third on Danny Espinosa's groundball to the left side and then scores on Chris Marrero's sac fly to right (Marrero's eighth RBI of his brief career).
2:23 p.m. -- So far, so good for Wang and the Nats. They lead 1-0 after three innings. And Wang has allowed only one ball to leave the infield: Hang's two-out single in the top of the third. He's at 40 pitches through three.
2:46 p.m. -- Now the Nats have built up a nice cushion for Wang, scoring three times in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. Big RBI single from Espinosa (who needed that) and when Bryan Petersen booted the ball in center field, another run came around to score and Espinosa reached third. He scored moments later on Marrero's bloop double to right, giving the rookie two RBI today and nine now since his promotion.
2:49 p.m. -- And the Marlins get one back on Wang's first pitch of the fifth inning. Gaby Sanchez hits a laser into the flowers beyond the left-field fence. It's 4-1.
3:16 p.m. -- A really solid outing for Wang today, and it may not be over yet. Through six innings, he's allowed one run on four hits, striking out four without issuing a walk. He's at 80 pitches (51 strikes). Tom Gorzelanny was warming up during the sixth, but he's taken a seat now, so Wang could be back out for the seventh inning for only the second time this year. Still 4-1 Nats.
3:19 p.m. -- Wow, get a load of this new Marlins pitcher: Jose Ceda. He's listed at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds. Riiiight. He makes Todd Coffey look lean and mean.
3:33 p.m. -- Unfortunately, this afternoon ends on a sour note for Wang, who was one out from completing the seventh inning for the first time since June 10, 2008 but served up a two-run homer to Brett Hayes. All of a sudden, it's a 4-3 game and Tyler Clippard has entered. Wang's final line: 6.2 ip, 6, h, 3 r, 0 bb, 5 k, 93 pitches, 60 strikes.
3:56 p.m. -- Controversy in the top of the eighth as Mike Stanton tries to convince umpire Cory Blaser he was hit by a Clippard pitch in the hand. Blaser insists the ball hit Stanton's bat for a foul ball, prompting a very testy Jack McKeon to waste about five minutes of our afternoon arguing a call that wasn't going to get changed. The foul ball call stood up, and Clippard then struck out Stanton. Still 4-3 as we go to the bottom of the eighth.
4:01 p.m. -- And here comes Drew Storen in search of his 38th save. No margin for error today, with the Nats clinging to a 1-run lead.
4:09 p.m. -- Stop the presses! The Nats have beaten the Marlins! Final score: Nats 4, Marlins 3. Wang (3-3) gets the win in his longest start in three years. Storen gets his 38th save.