MIAMI – Nelson Cruz has been in big spots throughout his 18-year career. And he’s been in much bigger games than the Nationals’ 38th game of the season against a division opponent.
But after missing Monday’s series opener with an illness, Cruz found himself back in the lineup Tuesday night, and wouldn’t you know it, the game put him in one of the biggest spots of the night.
What happened didn’t ultimately lead to the Nationals’ 5-1 loss in front of 8,097 at loanDepot Park, which also included a close to seven-minute delay due to a false fire alarm in the fifth inning. But it certainly was their biggest opportunity to get ahead of the Marlins late and perhaps win their first game against their National League East rival.
With the Nats down 1-0 and with one out in the sixth, Victor Robles singled to center field to get a speedy runner on base. But he was promptly picked off by Marlins lefty reliever Steven Okert, this coming after Robles stole his first base in his first attempt of the season last night.
But Cesár Hernández followed with an infield single, and Juan Soto and Josh Bell reached on back-to-back walks against the erratic Okert.