Stanton hits No. 51 (Nats win 8-3)

Manager Dusty Baker was concerned coming into the series about facing Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. After all, Stanton had hit 50 homers already this season.

Baker said he would not give away the strategy to pitching against Stanton prior to the opener on Monday, for fear there were "double agents" in the room.

Edwin Jackson was unable to sneak a fastball by Stanton in the first. Stanton took the 1-1 offering over the left field wall to put the Marlins on the board. Jackson then walked three of the next four batters he faced and appeared to be in major trouble. But with two outs, he coaxed a liner by Tomás Telis to Trea Turner, who made a diving catch to his right on the first game back since breaking his wrist on June 29.

In the the third, Wilmer Difo doubled and Jackson singled against Marlins starter Vance Worley to put runners at the corners. But Turner grounded out to third, advancing Jackson, and Alejandro De Aza flew out to center field.

daniel-murphy-in-white-bat.jpgBut Murphy saved the day again with a single off the mound that ended up in center field, scoring Difo and Jackson.

After three innings, the Nationals lead 2-1.

Update: In the fourth, Adam Lind doubled. Anthony Rendon singled to score Lind, but was caught in a rundown between first and second base. Matt Wieters singled, his bloop hit falling in front of left fielder Marcell Ozuna, but a double play ended the frame.

The Nationals lead the Marlins 3-1 after four innings.

Update II: The Marlins got a run back in the fifth. Dee Gordon singled and stole second base. He went to third on a Jackson wild pitch. Stanton's sacrifice fly to center field scored Gordon.

In the bottom of the fifth, Turner doubled and scored following a De Aza single and subsequent throwing error by Derek Dietrich. Murphy was intentionally walked and Ryan Zimmerman singled to score De Aza.

After five innings, the Nationals lead the Marlins 5-2.

Update III: The Marlins scored a run in the seventh, but it could have been much worse. Miguel Rojas and pinch-hitter Ichiro singled. Gordon sacrificed back to Jackson, but his throw was off line to Zimmerman, allowing Rojas to score a run. Stanton was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Oliver Pérez was able to get Christian Yelich on a fielder's choice to Rendon, who threw home to nab Ichiro. Matt Albers came on to strike out Ozuna looking and get J.T. Realmuto on a grounder to shortstop.

Mid-seventh, the Nats lead the Marlins 5-3.

Update IV: Facing Marlins reliever Junichi Tazawa, a Murphy double and walks to Zimmerman and Lind set up a bases-loaded situation for Rendon in the seventh. He delivered with a three-run double to deep center. After seven innings, the Nats lead 8-3 over the Marlins.

Update V: Brandon Kintzler pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Sean Doolittle allowed hits to pinch-hitter Mike Aviles and Gordon to begin the ninth. He then got Stanton on a popout to Murphy and Yelich lined out to Rendon. Ozuna grounded out to second to end the game.

Final score: Nats 8, Marlins 3.

The Nats are 80-51.

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