Marlins' bats come alive to end eight-game skid
Stanton's five RBIs, Koehler's seven scoreless lead Miami to win
MIAMI -- Pushed around for more than a week, the Marlins took their turn to slug back on Tuesday night.
They did so in a big way.
Giancarlo Stanton blasted a three-run homer and drove in five runs, while Marcell Ozuna collected four hits as the Marlins steamrolled Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals, 11-2, at Marlins Park.
The lopsided win snapped Miami's eight-game losing streak, and evened the three-game set.
As much as the Marlins needed a big scoring output, they were also desperately after a strong starting pitching performance. Tom Koehler provided it, limiting the Nationals to one hit over seven shutout innings. His 112 pitches are one shy of his personal high of 113 against the Mets on Aug. 1, 2013.
"I talked yesterday about having guys step up and I think we saw that tonight," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "You saw an entire team step up. Tommy Koehler set the tone, did a great job. You have a tough lineup to plow through and I think he did a great job."
The 11 runs and 15 hits were both season highs for Miami, and they got to Strasburg for six runs in the first two innings.
"It was great to see our offense strike early," Redmond said. "You could feel the energy, I think. Guys just kind of fed off that throughout the lineup. We were able to put a couple big numbers on the board and give us a little bit of breathing room. It was nice. It was a long eight games there."
A key for Koehler was the first inning, when Anthony Rendon led off the game with a single. Washington threatened with runners on the corners and two outs, but Koehler got Ian Desmond to hit a ground ball to short.
"I think it might have been a case of trying to do too much, knowing you've got to go deep in the game," Koehler said of his rocky first inning. "I really wanted to be a little extra effective. Those are the situations you tend to get in trouble."
Miami wasted little time getting to Strasburg.
Christian Yelich singled to lead off the first inning, establishing a career-high 10-game hitting streak. Ozuna singled, then Stanton blistered a three-run homer to center, which was estimated by ESPN Stats & Info at 457 feet.
"We needed it," Yelich said. "It's been a tough week for us. Things haven't been going our way. For Tommy to go out there and pitch well, and we got off to a fast start out of the gate. Stanton hit that homer. That was a big win for us, getting us back on track."
Stanton added a two-run double in a five-run fifth inning. The last time the slugger drove in five was on Sept. 30, 2010, against the Pirates.
The win was the first by Miami since Jose Fernandez beat the Padres, 5-0, on April 5.
Strasburg was tagged for six runs on eight hits in four innings. Five days ago at Nationals Park, Strasburg struck out 12 and allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings. The Marlins struck out 17 times during the 7-1 loss, matching a franchise record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game.
It was a different story on Tuesday.
"Sometimes you're going to get beaten by a good pitcher," Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Koehler. "It's going to happen sometimes. This is the second time he's thrown well against us. He's a good pitcher."
The game also featured a little bit of tension in the fourth inning, when benches and bullpens emptied after Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Desmond exchanged words chest-to-chest.
The incident came after Koehler's 1-0 fastball sailed up and in on Desmond, who began jawing. Saltalamacchia barked back as players and coaches from both teams spilled onto the field, converging around home plate.
Order was quickly restored, and there was not as much as a shove. Home-plate umpire Marty Foster did issue warnings to both benches.
At the time, the Marlins led by six.
"Guys tend to get a little upset when they get crowded," Koehler said. "But at the same time they're attacking fastballs out over the plate. It's our job as starters to make sure that they know that that's our part of the plate."
"It wasn't premeditated either," Desmond said. "I meant what I was saying. This is how I feed my family. Like I said, I'm not scared to get hit, I've been hit plenty of times, never said a word. I just don't like that."
The incident could serve as a bonding moment for the Marlins, because Saltalamacchia quickly got into the action.
"You always want your catcher to have your back," Koehler said. "We're still building relationships here. For him to step up like that and tell them, ''Listen, don't talk to my pitcher that way,' it definitely means a lot. It's something that hopefully can build a little momentum and bring the team together."