Nats stomp offensively challenged Marlins

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins were just what the Washington Nationals needed.
After being swept in three games over the weekend by the Atlanta Braves, the Nationals took their frustrations out on the Marlins, routing last-place Miami, 10-3, Monday night.
Ryan Zimmerman led the Nationals with four RBIs and Tyler Moore added three. The Nationals also totaled 16 hits, including four by Ian Desmond.
"It felt good," Desmond said of the win. "It was nice to have success, especially after that series we just came from."
Playing before an announced crowd of 15,933 at Marlins Park, the Nationals improved to 8-5 and are in a virtual tie for second place in the NL East with the New York Mets.
The Marlins slipped to 2-11.
The win went to Jordan Zimmermann (3-0), who pitched a six-hitter, allowing one walk and three runs. It was just his second career complete game, and two of his wins this season have come against Miami.
Zimmermann threw 103 pitches, including 70 for strikes. Nationals' manager Davey Johnson said he would have allowed Zimmermann to throw up to 115 pitches.
"Jordan was outstanding, and he's been outstanding all year," Johnson said of Zimmermann, whose previous complete game was an eight-inning effort against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011. "Jordan has always had a history of pitching well here (in Miami)."
The loss went to Wade LeBlanc (0-3), who allowed nine hits, two walks and seven runs, all earned, in 3 2/3 innings. Two of his losses this season have come against Washington.
The Marlins' offense, which had scored a total of 20 runs in their first 12 games this season, came alive -- to a certain extent -- with two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Still, the Marlins have gone nine straight games without hitting a home run, tying the franchise record set in the team's first year of existence in 1993. The last Marlins' player to homer was Greg Dobbs, who went deep April 5 in New York.
Washington scored four runs in the first, loading the bases on singles by Denard Span and Jayson Werth and a walk to Bryce Harper. Zimmerman and Moore followed with two-run singles, and the game was virtually out of reach at that point since the Marlins have averaged fewer than two runs a game this season.
The Nationals continued their assault on LeBlanc with three straight doubles in the third inning by Desmond, Moore and Steve Lombardozzi to make it 6-0.
Zimmerman added a two-run homer in the fourth, and Span stroked a two-run single to center in the fifth.
Marlins' manager Mike Redmond was happy with the fight his team showed late in the game, but he added this was just an off night for LeBlanc.
"It looked to me like he missed up in the zone early in the game," Redmond said. "Against an offense and a team like this, you have to keep the ball down, be able to move and change speeds. Tonight just wasn't his night."
Most of LeBlanc's problems this year have come in the first inning. In three first innings this season, he has allowed a total of eight runs. In 11 2/3 innings after that, LeBlanc has allowed only three runs.
"We're only three starts in, but something has got to change," LeBlanc said of his first-inning blues. "We have to figure out how to get through that first inning unscathed and give these guys a chance. That's a priority."
NOTES: The Nationals went 3-6 in Marlins Park last year, their worst road record against any division rival. ... Nationals' second baseman Danny Espinosa, who was hit on the right wrist with a pitch Sunday, did not start Monday. Lombardozzi, a career .353 hitter in Miami, took his place. ... Marlins' backup outfielder Austin Kearns, 32, was released from a hospital Monday after being scratched from Sunday's lineup due to an irregular heartbeat. ... Marlins' right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is still out due to a shoulder problem. He has not played since Wednesday, but since neither he nor Kearns have been placed on the disabled list, the Marlins are playing short-handed. In fact, Justin Ruggiano, slowed by a groin injury, has been forced into the lineup due to the shortage of outfielders. ... Marlins' first baseman Joe Mahoney, who has yet to play this season due to an oblique strain, is close to being ready to return. He has played two rehab games for Class A Jupiter, going 5-for-8.