It might not be the sexiest way to drive in a run, but true baseball fans will love the way Corey Brown recorded his first major league RBI tonight.
With Ian Desmond sprinting down the third-base line toward the plate with one out, Brown was called on to square around and convert a suicide squeeze. He got a 1-1 changeup from Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez and deadened it in front of the plate, forcing catcher John Buck to come out and make a play on the ball.
Desmond scored easily, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead and giving Brown his first big league run-batted-in.
Cool moment for the 26-year-old outfielder who was just called up from Triple-A Syracuse over the weekend.
The Nats hadn’t recorded a hit off Sanchez until Desmond’s single leading off the fifth, but they did a nice job getting aggressive and pushing the issue in that frame to get the run across. Desmond stole second and moved to third on Buck’s throwing error, and after Rick Ankiel struck out, Davey Johnson called for the suicide squeeze. I like the aggression on the basepaths given how sharp Sanchez had been to that point.
Brown executed the call to perfection, giving Edwin Jackson a lead.
Jackson has been fantastic, allowing just a single hit and needing just 63 pitches to get through the fifth. You can tell Jackson is in a groove when he’s able to keep that pitch count low, and the righty has been very effective against a dangerous Marlins lineup tonight.
UPDATE: The Marlins rattled off a run in three consecutive innings and the Nats missed out on a golden opportunity in the eighth, leaving the bases loaded, as Miami held on for a 3-1 win.
Giancarlo Stanton remained the hottest hitter on the planet with an RBI double in the sixth, Greg Dobbs plated the go-ahead run in the seventh on a sac fly and Hanley Ramirez provided a monster insurance run in the eighth, continuing his dominance of the Nats with a long homer to left.
The Ramirez blast hurt all the more because it came immediately after the Nats failed to capitalize on a bases-loaded, one-out chance in the top-half of the eighth. Up with a chance to tie the game or put the Nats on top, Bryce Harper had a rare bad at-bat, striking out on three pitches, the last of which was well out of the strike zone.
Harper hasn’t looked 19 years old very often since being called up just over a month ago, but he did there, as the normally-patient outfielder got too jumpy.
Ryan Zimmerman had a chance to pick Harper up but grounded into a force-out to end the inning, leaving the Nats in a hole.
They had a shot in the ninth when Jhonatan Solano doubled with two outs to bring the tying run to the plate, but Xavier Nady flied out to end it.
The Nats have now dropped two in a row to Miami, both of which were hard-fought, two-run losses. Chien-Ming Wang will try to help the Nats avoid the sweep tomorrow as he opposes Josh Johnson.