The Marlins started and ended game two of their series against the Nationals in much the same way they started and ended game one.
Facing Livan Hernandez Saturday night, the Fish once again put three runs on the board in the first inning. With two on, Jorge Cantu doubled to score the first run of the game, and Cody Ross followed with a two-out, two-run single to put the Fish up 3-0.
Josh Johnson was once again not at his sharpest on the mound, which for a normal pitcher might mean trouble, but for Josh means something entirely different (like, you know, that he didn’t have a no-hitter going into the eighth inning). JJ got into a bit of trouble in the second when he loaded the bases with nobody out, but two ground balls later, JJ was out of the inning and only one run was on the board for the Nats.
In the fourth inning, the Marlins offense jumped on Livan again. Helms and Coghlan singled, and Maybin hit a sac fly to score a run. Hanley Ramirez followed with his 20th home run of the season to put the Marlins up 6-1.
Josh settled down after his shaky second, and tossed three straight 1-2-3 innings before he gave way to the bullpen. JJ lasted through five, and his night ended after 82 pitches, two hits, three walks and the lone run to the Nationals.
With Victor Garate on the mound in relief of Livan in the sixth, Brett Hayes pinch-hit for JJ and hit the first home run of his major league career. Cameron Maybin followed with a walk, and Jorge Cantu doubled him in to give the Marlins an 8-1 lead.
Christian Martinez pitched a scoreless sixth inning, but with one out in the seventh gave up three runs to put the Nats within striking distance… and to remind us that he is not exactly Burke Badenhop. Dan Meyer took over and recorded the final two outs of the seventh.
A Hanley Ramirez RBI double in the eighth capped off the scoring for the Marlins.
Brian Sanches took over for Dan Meyer with one out in the eighth, and stayed in to finish up the game. With two out in the ninth, he made things interesting when he gave up a double and a one-run single, but a fly ball to right ended the game, and the Marlins won their fourth straight.
For the second night in a row, the Fish scored nine runs. If they can manage to keep that up, they may have a better chance at the Wild Card than HLD&S originally thought.