Marlins make Nats pay for botched rundown
Stanton evades tag with swim move back to third base; Hechavarria clears bases in next at-bat
MIAMI -- A fundamental flub by the Nationals in the fourth inning Sunday turned into a game-changing moment for the Marlins in their 6-2 win at Marlins Park.
When Washington was unable to tag Giancarlo Stanton out in a rundown at third base, Adeiny Hechavarria followed with a three-run triple that gave Miami a lead it didn't relinquish.
Stanton was on second with two outs, and Marcell Ozuna was on first. Ichiro Suzuki reached on an infield single.
Overly aggressive, Stanton was about halfway home when Washington's Ryan Zimmerman threw to catcher Wilson Ramos. Facing a rundown, Stanton moved back to third.
But Ramos didn't flip to third baseman Yunel Escobar, leaving an opening for Stanton to get back to the base. The two-time All-Star dove back short of the base, and literally crawled the final few feet before reaching safely.
"That was big," Stanton said. "I shouldn't have been in that situation. But, I was able to get out of it. 'Hech' came up clutch."
Miami was trailing by a run at the time. But Hechavarria's liner into the gap in right-center off Gio Gonzalez scored three.
"When I saw Stanton getting in that tough situation, I thought he was going to be out," Hechavarria said. "Luckily, he got to the base safely. It was my turn to come up. It was up to me. The team was depending on me to come through in that situation. I just tried to stay focused on staying to the middle of the field, the opposite-field."
"We can get out of that inning by executing the rundown," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "I don't know why [Ramos] didn't give up the ball. ... I know the big inning was a result of us not executing. You give them extra outs. That's what happens."
The Marlins have won five straight, and they're starting to get some breaks go their way.
Stanton wasn't even sure he was able to get back safely until his hand hit the base.
"I dove a little early," he said. "I still didn't get tagged. I was like, 'All right, let me crawl and try to get there.'"
In the series, the Marlins were able to minimize their mistakes, and make the Nationals pay for theirs.
Even after the Nationals chipped back to 3-2 in the fifth, the Marlins added two runs in the bottom of the fifth, and one more in the sixth.
"That's a difference in winning streaks," Stanton said. "The difference in getting a sweep -- capitalizing on little mental mistakes. You're not always going to win off of talent or sheer playing. It will be little mistakes on both sides, and who can capitalize best."