Game in a nutshell: In their attempt to deal Anibal Sanchez a loss for the first time in 19 career starts against them, the Nationals came up short once again. They did lead 1-0 in the sixth behind Corey Brown's perfectly executed suicide squeeze (for his first career RBI). But Edwin Jackson served up an RBI double to Giancarlo Stanton in the sixth and committed a costly throwing error in the seventh that allowed the go-ahead run to score. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman couldn't come through with the bases loaded in the eighth, and Hanley Ramirez's 422-foot bomb off Craig Stammen sealed the deal for the Marlins, who secured the series victory.
Hitting lowlight: Rarely in his first month in the big leagues has Harper showed a poor approach at the plate and expanded his strike zone. But the 19-year-old picked a bad time to look like a 19-year-old at last. With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, Harper struck out on three pitches from reliever Steve Cishek. The last pitch was a high fastball, well out of the strike zone, but Harper chased it. That rare, undisciplined display from the rookie wound up costing the Nationals big-time.
Pitching lowlight: Though he dominated for five innings, Jackson's night fell apart quickly in the sixth and seventh. It began with a one-out double by Omar Infante, then continued with an RBI double by Stanton (in a curious move, the Nats decided to pitch to Stanton with first base open and two outs). Jackson's biggest mistake, though, wasn't a pitch but an errant pickoff throw in the seventh that allowed Chris Coghlan to take two extra bases. That set the stage for Greg Dobbs' sacrifice fly, giving the Marlins the lead for good. In the end, Jackson's final line looks strong (one earned run in 6 23 innings) but the stats tell only part of the story.
Key stat: Harper now has four triples in his first 29 big-league games. Over the last 25 years, the only rookies to produce more three-baggers in that brief span are Andrew McCutchen and Carl Crawford (five apiece).
Up next: The series wraps up at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday when Chien-Ming Wang makes his first start of the season for the Nationals, taking over Ross Detwiler's rotation spot. Struggling ace Josh Johnson will start for the Marlins.
The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports.
Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.
The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras.
The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity.
The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117.
Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras
The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.
Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.
On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.
But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.
Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.
Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways.
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