Nearly unhittable, Adon shows he's 'come a long way'

August 26th, 2023

MIAMI -- The last time pitched at loanDepot park, it was a disaster.

His return Friday night was anything but.

Adon threw 5 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball and left after six scoreless with Washington holding a six-run lead. The Nationals went on to continue their hot streak by outpacing the host Marlins, 7-4. Now five games back of Miami in the National League East, Washington has won 10 of its past 13 games. The club will look to earn its fifth straight series win in Game 2 of this three-game set on Saturday afternoon.

It was a nice return for Adon, who gave up eight runs to the Marlins in just three-plus innings back on June 7, 2022. 

“I feel that I have come a long way, especially coming into the same clubhouse knowing what happened last season,” Adon said through translator Octavio Martinez. “This is the same locker I was at when that happened. When I got to the stadium, I did think about it a little bit, but I told myself, ‘We’re going to do it today.’”

Said manager Dave Martinez: “He came out, and we talked about him pumping strikes. His fastball was good, his breaking ball and his changeup [were] really good, and that helped all of his pitches. He attacked the zone. When he does that, he is really effective. He pitched really well for us.”

Speaking of nice returns, Washington left-hander certainly had one, tossing two perfect relief innings against his former club. He was so unfamiliar with the visitors’ clubhouse in Miami that he looked lost when summoned to meet with Martinez after his stellar outing.

Garcia, who was claimed off waivers from the Marlins on Aug. 1, walked into a firestorm in the seventh -- and he cooled things off in a hurry.

After Adon (2-0) left with a 6-0 lead, Mason Thompson could not record an out in the bottom of the seventh as Miami scored three runs on four straight hits -- including a two-run triple from Jesús Sánchez.

Called on with runners at first and third and no outs, Garcia got Jazz Chisholm Jr. to ground into an RBI fielder’s choice. Jorge Soler hit into a double play to end the threat. Washington’s lead was cut to just a pair of runs, but the crisis was averted, with Garcia playing a major role.

“It was good,” said Garcia, who put Miami down in order in the eighth, as well. “I just wanted to go out there and compete, and [I] got into a situation where I had to reevaluate what I needed to do. I took a deep breath. I trust myself and I trust the guys behind me, and [I] just went out there and did my job.’’

Doing that against his old team? Not bad.

“We like him a lot. He is good,’’ Martinez said. “You worry sometimes about getting too amped up, but we told him to keep the emotions out of it a little bit and just attack like you always do. Big inning, big outs for us, and then he goes out and gets another inning and shuts the door for us.’’

The Nationals gave their pitchers plenty of runs to work with, although they did struggle against Miami starter Braxton Garrett, at least initially.

Washington took a 1-0 lead in the first but did not get another run until Carter Kieboom hit a two-run shot to left-center field in the sixth after Keibert Ruiz reached on a two-out infield single.

With the way Adon was throwing, that looked like enough.

“Everyone is focused, and there is definitely good energy,” said Kieboom, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Sunday after having missed the past season and a half due to injury. “There is nobody in here about themselves; we’re all a team, and we’re all hungry. I said in Spring Training that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is hungry and trying the best they can. That is all you can ask.”

Adon held Miami hitless until Chisholm singled up the middle with one out in the sixth. The hit was originally ruled an error on shortstop CJ Abrams, who missed the ball when it clipped second base on its way into the outfield, but it was changed not long after Luis Arraez stroked a single into right two batters later.

Adon got out of the jam by striking out Josh Bell with a nice changeup. 

“Big moment,” Martinez said. “He has a good [change], and he needs to add it and use it a little more. He used it perfectly today. Big moment for him -- striking out Bell is not easy.”

Washington tacked on three more runs in the top of the seventh -- the highlight being a two-run double from Joey Meneses. They were runs the Nationals ended up needing, as the Marlins plated four in the bottom of the inning. But the team that entered Friday 6-0 against Washington this season came no closer.

“Let’s do it again tomorrow,” Martinez said, rapping his knuckles on the wooden desk in the managers’ office.