Nationals 6, Marlins 0
WASHINGTON (AP)—Manny Acta’s Washington Nationals ended an eight-game losing streak by scoring their most runs in 2 1/2 weeks and holding the NL’s most potent offense without a hit for six innings and without a run for the first time all season.
Still, after Washington beat the Florida Marlins 6-0 Friday night, the rookie manager sighed and crossed his arms as he contemplated how it seems that even when things go right for his club, something goes wrong.
“Yeah,” Acta said. “It’s a sour taste.”
If he seemed a bit somber, and the home clubhouse was quiet despite a rare victory, it’s because Shawn Hill, Washington’s most effective starter this season, said he’s “99 percent sure” he’ll go on the disabled list with a sore right elbow that forced him out of the game after five no-hit innings.
“If he’s out a while, it’s definitely going to hurt,” said Austin Kearns, who drove in two runs and had one of Washington’s 15 hits. “He’s been great so far.”
Hill (3-3, 2.70 ERA) walked two and retired the other 15 batters he faced. He took the mound to start the sixth but left without throwing another pitch.
There also was bad news before the game for a team that entered the day a majors-worst 9-25: Nationals hitting coach Mitchell Page is taking a leave of absence for what the team called “undisclosed personal reasons.”
Hill, who had elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2004 and missed all of 2005, will have an MRI exam on Monday and probably will be shut down for a week to 10 days, team doctor Ben Shaffer said. Hill’s elbow began to bother him during his previous start, and he and Shaffer believe the problem stems from trying to compensate for a bothersome left shoulder that he jammed while running the bases last month.
“My mechanics have been a little bit out of whack and putting stress on the elbow,” Hill said.
His baseball career has been marked by various injuries—all the way back to when he played his first youth season wearing a cast on a broken leg.
After returning to the majors in 2006 from the elbow surgery, Hill made six starts before the elbow acted up in June. Then, this season he’s been bothered by right forearm stiffness and the left shoulder.
He said he wasn’t thinking about the no-hitter when he had to leave the mound.
“I was more frustrated that I was out of the game,” he said, “and not healthy again.”
Winston Abreu kept the Marlins hitless through the sixth. Saul Rivera came on for the seventh, and Josh Willingham led off with a bloop single to left that dropped just in front of outfielder Ryan Church, who tore up his pants leg with a sliding attempt to make a catch.
“I actually thought it was going to get caught, but it snuck in there, I guess,” Willingham said. “You obviously want to break it up as soon as possible—because nobody wants to get no-hit.”
Church drove in Washington’s first two runs off Scott Olsen (3-3) with a groundout in the first and a double in the sixth. Church also scored in the sixth on Kearns’ sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Olsen went 5 2-3 innings and was charged with four runs—three earned—and 10 hits. He summed up his performance this way: “Two bad pitches.”
One led to Church’s double. The other was an offering to Schneider in the sixth that stayed up. Right fielder Abercrombie jumped and reached over the fence to grab the ball and prevent a homer on the drive, but as he brought his glove down, the ball popped out. Schneider wound up with an RBI double that made it 4-0.
“It wasn’t a home run,” Schneider said, “but it wasn’t an out, either.”
The Marlins made three errors, two on throws by 3B Miguel Cabrera. “As long as there are human people playing this game and not machines, there are going to be errors,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. … Nationals LF Ryan Langerhans made a running, diving catch of Cabrera’s sinking liner to end the top of the eighth.