Taylor, Harper and Fister part of home run parade (Nats outslug Marlins)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP

Score: Nationals 11, Marlins 7

Recap: The Nationals broke out of their offensive slump in a big way against the Marlins today. Center fielder Michael A. Taylor set the tone immediately with a lead off solo blast in the first. Right fielder Bryce Harper and catchers Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton also went deep for the Nats. Washington starter Doug Fister ran into his own problem with the longball. The Marlins hit three homers off Fister, including a two-run shot by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. Fister has now allowed six home runs in five starts this spring.

Need to know: Opening day starter Max Scherzer will not start against St. Louis tomorrow. He will instead head to the minor league side of camp to throw around 95 pitches in a controlled game. Right-hander Taylor Jordan will make the trip to Jupiter and face the Cardinals.

On deck: Monday, at Cardinals in Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.
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VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals entered this game having scored just six runs in the past 36 innings over four games. They broke out of that slump quickly as they jumped all over Marlins starter Tom Koehler with four straight hits in the bottom of the first. It began with center fielder Michael A. Taylor smoking a 2-2 fastball over the center field wall. It’s the second time the 23-year-old has led off a game with a homer this spring. Taylor’s four home runs lead the Nats this exhibition season.

harper-williams-handshake-sidebar.jpgSecond baseman Yunel Escobar followed with a single and then right fielder Bryce Harper absolutely mauled another Koehler heater well beyond the fence in right-center field for a two-run home run. Harper has now homered in consecutive games and has three overall in the spring.

Catcher Wilson Ramos legged out a slow roller to third for an infield single and the fourth hit.

The Marlins answered in the second inning against Nats starter Doug Fister. First baseman Michael Morse, the former National, started things off with a broken-bat single to center. Then center fielder Marcell Ozuna launched a two-run homer to straight-away center field. One batter later, the game was tied after catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia bombed a Fister sinker over the wall in left-center.

It’s the second consecutive game that a Nats starter has given up back-to-back homers. Yesterday, it was right-hander Stephen Strasburg.

The Marlins homer parade continued in the third when right fielder Giancarlo Stanton rocked Fister for a two-run shot that sent the sunbathers scrambling beyond the wall in the left-center alley at Space Coast Stadium.

Fister has now given up six home runs this spring. He’s allowed five runs on six hits with a walk through three innings today.

With one out in the third, Ramos joined in on the home run derby with another long shot to straightaway center. The homer was Ramos’ first of the spring. After back-to-back singles from shortstop Ian Desmond and left fielder Tyler Moore, first baseman Mike Carp delivered a sacrifice fly and the game was back to all even.

Update: Fister gave up two more hits in the fourth, including an RBI double from left fielder Christan Yelich. Fister’s day was done with one out in the fifth. He gave up six runs on eight hits, including three homers, with a walk and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. He threw 87 pitches, 53 for strikes. Fister’s spring ERA ballooned to 7.02.

Ramos came through again in the fourth with a two-out RBI single to tie the game. Ramos is now 3-for-3 on the day batting in the cleanup spot and has raised his exhibition season average to .342.

Right-hander Aaron Barrett came on to pitch after Fister in the fifth and promptly gave up two singles and the lead.

The Marlins are in front of the Nats 7-6 in the sixth.

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