WASHINGTON (AP)—Scott Olsen was as good at the plate as he was on the mound.
Olsen had a double, a single and an RBI, all while taking a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning Tuesday night and helping the Florida Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 9-3 to improve to 2-0 for only the second time in their 15 seasons.
“If he can pitch like that every time out, we’ll be in business,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
How about Olsen’s work with the bat?
“We’ve got a little more respect for him as a hitter, I guess,” Gonzalez said.
The Nationals, meanwhile, could take solace from this: No one got hurt.
Before the game, Washington put two starters on the 15-day disabled list because they were injured during Monday’s 9-2 loss to Florida—center fielder Nook Logan (left foot) and shortstop Cristian Guzman (left hamstring).
So Washington called up Kory Casto, who never had played above Double-A, and started him in the outfield. Josh Wilson played shortstop, his first big league start since appearing in 11 games with Florida in 2005.
Wilson made one of the Nationals’ two errors, part of a series of miscues that drew scattered boos from the announced crowd of 20,894, about half as big as opening day. Wilson also made an ill-advised attempt at a shovel pass with his glove (a play that was ruled a hit for Dan Uggla), first baseman Dmitri Young let a ball go through his legs for an error, and reliever Ray King failed to cover the bag at first on a possible double play.
“It takes more than that to frustrate me. We’ve just got to play better defense,” Washington manager Manny Acta said. “We’ve just got to keep on working. We’ll get better at it.”
Acta gave a similar answer when asked if he’s worried about his offense.
“It’s only two games. If we go out and play 10 games and I see the same result, then I’ll get concerned,” he said. “But it’s only two games. We can go on a rampage starting tomorrow.”
Perhaps, but Washington didn’t do much against Olsen, whom Acta called a “tough lefty.”
For five scoreless innings, Olsen (1-0) looked much better than he did during spring training, when he was 1-4 with a 4.63 ERA, or the last time games counted, when he went 0-3 with a 4.03 ERA in his final five starts of 2006.
He wound up lasting 5 1-3 innings Tuesday, charged with two runs, two hits and five walks—and that last stat alarmed him.
“I created my own problems,” Olsen said. “I have to quit walking people— especially leadoff guys—and hopefully things will fix themselves.”
Nationals starter Shawn Hill (0-1) got into trouble right away in his first appearance in the majors since June 28. The right-hander needed 18 minutes and 36 pitches to get through the first inning alone.
The game began with Hill hitting Hanley Ramirez with a pitch. Then Uggla hit a grounder that Wilson dived to stop, but the shortstop’s attempt to get the ball to second went awry, leaving both runners safe. After Miguel Cabrera walked to load the bases, Mike Jacobs’ grounder hopped under Young’s glove, allowing two runs to score.
“If all the plays are made, we’re tied at 2 after about seven innings,” Hill said. “But it happens. And when a play’s not made, it’s my job to get another groundball at somebody.”
He did settle into a groove, getting three double plays, and was lifted for a pinch-hitter after allowing four earned runs and five hits in five innings.
“I really like what I see in this guy,” Acta said, “but we’ve got to play defense behind him, too.”
Hill heard some jeers after popping up a bunt attempt while batting in the third. Another mishap came in the sixth, when King loaded the bases on two singles and a walk.
That brought up Olsen, who bounced the ball toward first. But after Young threw to second for one out, King failed to cover the bag at first for a return throw. That allowed another run to score, making it 6-0.
“I should have been over there,” King said. “No excuse for it.”
The Marlins opened 3-0 in 1997, when they went on to win the World Series. … It was Olsen’s third career two-hit game at the plate. … Casto singled in the fourth for his first major league hit.