The Miami Marlins managed to get a crucial series-splitting 5-3 win on Monday night against the Washington Nationals. With the Nats well ahead of the Fish in first place in the NL East, Miami has only two weeks to truly determine if they're contenders and thus buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Some have speculated that they may start unloading assets if things go south this month, and this four-game set against Washington was huge coming out of the break.
The Nationals still managed to split the series, although I'm sure they will feel like they let one get away in the finale on Monday. Starter Edwin Jackson had one blow up inning, allowing a four runs in the bottom of the third that ended up being the difference. Miami pitcher Carlos Zambrano led off the inning with a single and that started the rally. Carlos Lee would knock in both Zambrano and Jose Reyes with a single back up the middle to center. Hanley Ramirez then added to the damage two batters later by hammering a two-run homer to centerfield for a 4-2 lead.
Jackson had an early two-run cushion after the Nats scored a run in the second and third innings. Ryan Zimmerman continues to round into form and the Washington third baseman ripped a homer just over the left field wall against Zambrano, making it 2-0 in the third. Zimmerman would score the third run of the night on a Michael Morse single which cut the Miami lead to one. He appears to finally have his bat working, putting in another solid night where he went three for three while also drawing a walk.
But the Nats would fail to come through with a rally to overcome Jackson's one bad inning. Washington out-hit the Marlins 11 to 7, but simply never broke through. They now return home for their first series of the second half on the Southwest waterfront. Ross Detwiler will take the mound on Tuesday for the first game against the New York Mets.
Stick with this StoryStream for scores, updates and more from the Nationals' series in Miami. For all things Nationals, check out Federal Baseball. For the Miami perspective, head over to Fish Stripes.