Walters homers, but Nats fall 11-2

If the Nationals are going to continue their mastery of the 2014 Marlins, they’re going to have to come from behind.

Three batters into tonight’s game, Stephen Strasburg was down 3-0. Christian Yelich singled off Strasburg’s second pitch and Marcell Ozuna followed by whackin a first-pitch fastball into left field. That brought Giancarlo Stanton to the plate and Stanton mashed a 2-1 changeup over the fence in straightaway center for a three-run homer.

The Marlins are being aggressive early in the count, and Strasburg may have to stop challenging them with fastballs.

Update: Two innings deep and the deficit has doubled. Strasburg isn’t flashing much command and the Marlins are teeing off. Adeiny Hechevarria led off with a triple and Yelich drew a one-out walk before a run-scoring infield single by Ozuna. After a wild pitch moved the runners up, Stanton was intentionally passed and Casey McGeehe hit a two-out, two-run single.

Through two innings, Strasburg has thrown 44 pitches.

Update II: Nothing like a little friction to spice up a lopsided game.

In the top of the fourth, Marlins starter Tom Koehler came inside to Ian Desmond, who appeared to yell, “Throw the ball over the plate” to the mound. Miami catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia jawed with Desmond briefly, and as the two exchanged words, benches and bullpens emptied. Order was quickly restored, though both benches were warned by crew chief Joe West.

Update III: With Tyler Moore on to pinch-hit in the fifth, Strasburg’s day is done. In four innings, the right-hander allowed six runs on eight hits, walked three and struck out five. Strasburg threw 81 pitches, 54 for strikes.

Craig Stammen is on to work the fifth against Miami.

Update IV: It’s now 8-0 after Stammen threw away Koehler’s bunt and two runs scored. Derek Dietrich singled, Echavafrria walked and Koehler dropped one down in front of the mound. Stammen fielded and tried to get the lead runner, but sailed a throw into left field. Bryce Harper corralled the ball and threw Koehler out trying to advance to third.

Later in the inning, right fielder Jayson Werth fumbled Ozuna’s single to right, upping the Nats’ league-leading error total to 15 for the season. Stanton then doubled home two more runs for a 10-0 lead and scored on an RBI single by Garrett Jones.

The Marlins sent 10 men to the plate in the fifth, parlaying six hits and a pair of Washington errors into five runs.

Update V: Well, at least the Nats won’t be shut out. Bryce Harper singled with two down in the eighth and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Dan Jennings. Steven Souza Jr. followed with his first major league hit, a single up the middle, and Harper stopped at third before scoring when center fielder Ozuna’s throw was bobbled on the cutoff. It’s 11-1 and Souza has a souvenir, but that’s about it for Nats highlights tonight.

Update VI: Zach Walters led off the ninth with a line drive homer to right, making it 11-2.

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