Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Wes Helms drove in five runs and Florida blew out the Nationals, 16-10, in a game marred by a benches-clearing brawl in the sixth inning.
It was during the top of that frame when Washington center fielder Nyjer Morgan charged the mound and punched Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad. Both players were ejected.
Florida was ahead 15-5 with one out in the inning when Volstad threw a pitch behind Morgan, who was hit on the right side by an offering in the fourth frame. The Marlins were ahead 14-3 in the fourth, but Morgan stole second and third base during the inning.
In the sixth, though, Morgan became upset and immediately threw down his bat and charged the mound. Volstad tossed down his glove and Morgan connected with a left to the pitcher’s neck.
Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez then raced in and delivered a clothes-line hit to Morgan, who immediately tumbled to the ground. Players for both teams scuffled near the mound and then Pat Listach, the third base coach for the Nationals, joined the fray by piling on Volstad and possibly throwing a punch.
“Obviously, he’s not coming out there to talk,” Volstad said. “I had to defend myself and not to get hurt.”
After being ejected by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson and upon leaving the field with the front of his jersey unbuttoned, Morgan motioned to the crowd and banged his chest with his fist.
“I’ve been part of a few bench-clearings, and this one was pretty up there as far as the amount of intensity and physical actions on the field,” Helms said. “It’s going to happen. It’s part of the game. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just going to happen, it doesn’t happen often. Tonight was one of those nights where it got out of hand.”
Morgan was also involved in a home plate collision Tuesday night that left Marlins catcher Brett Hayes with a separated shoulder.
“It’s a hard play yesterday,” Morgan said. “I understand that you have to get them back a little bit, go out there and explain the game. I guess they took it the wrong way. They hit me the first time, so be it. But he (Volstad) hit two other of our guys, all right, cool. But then he whips another one behind me and we’ve got to go. I’m just sticking up for myself, defending my teammates.”
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez and relief pitcher Jose Veras were also ejected.
The harsh feelings continued in the seventh inning when Nationals pitcher Doug Slaten was ejected for plunking Sanchez with a pitch. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman was also shown the door. Riggleman and Rodriguez were jawing at each other.
“My feeling has always been if you hit somebody, then you did what you set out to do,” Riggleman said. “You hit him and if he decides to run on you that’s his business. I have no problem with that. We decide when we run. The Florida Marlins will not decide when we run.”
This is the second recent major incident for Morgan, who was dealt a seven- game suspension on August 25. Morgan appealed the penalty, which came about for intentionally throwing a baseball into the stands at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park during the middle of the ninth inning of an August 21 contest. The throw hit a fan in the crowd.
Donnie Murphy knocked in three runs for the Marlins, who took the rubber match of this three-game set. Murphy, though, departed the game with a dislocated right wrist.
The result was much different than Tuesday’s 1-0 Marlins win that came in 10 innings on Chad Tracy’s RBI single.
Mike Stanton delivered a two-run homer, while Cameron Maybin and Brad Davis added solo shots.
Ian Desmond ended with three hits and two RBI for Washington.
Nationals starter Scott Olsen (3-8) allowed eight hits and nine runs in 1 2/3 innings and lost his sixth straight start.
Volstad (9-9) yielded nine hits and six runs to win his third consecutive appearance.
Mike Morse singled in a run in the top of the first, but the Marlins scored 14 times over the first three frames. Helms’ two-run doubled keyed the big opening frame, during which Hanley Ramirez and Davis also had run-scoring two- baggers.
Morgan and Desmond drove in runs in the top of the second, but Helms singled in a pair in the bottom half and Stanton’s blast to left capped the five-run frame.
The Marlins continued to pour it on in the third. Sanchez singled in two runs and scored on a Murphy double. Helms followed with an RBI base hit for a 14-3 cushion.
Davis hit his first career homer in the fourth, before Adam Kennedy singled in a run in the top of the fifth.
The Nats got a bit closer in the explosive sixth thanks to three runs, the last on a Danny Espinosa RBI double.
Wil Nieves homered in the seventh and pinch-hitter Willie Harris singled in a run for a 15-10 game before Maybin homered to left off Slaten to start the bottom half of the frame.
Earlier in the day, the Marlins selected the contracts of pitcher Jorge Sosa from Triple-A New Orleans and catcher Chris Hatcher from Double-A Jacksonville…Florida has won seven of the last eight encounters…The teams will meet for the final time in Washington from September 10-12…Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco will have surgery next week to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee. Nolasco had been scheduled to start on Friday against Atlanta, but he will be replaced by Andrew Miller.