WASHINGTON – Sixto Sanchez allowed six hits over five innings to win his major league debut, and the Miami Marlins defeated the Washington Nationals 5-3 on Saturday night to earn a split of a doubleheader.
“It was exciting to watch him pitch and see his stuff,” manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s fun to watch, and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow. He’ll continue to get better as time goes.”
The Nationals won the opener 5-4 as their bullpen retired all seven batters it faced to halt a Marlins’ rally.
Sanchez (1-0), who was acquired as part of the trade that sent catcher J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia last season, touched 100 mph with his fastball in the first inning and was comfortable for much of his outing. He struck out four without walking a batter, and the only damage Washington did was on Yan Gomes’ solo homer in the third and Victor Robles’ two-run shot in the fifth.
“It was everything I expected it to be,” the 22-year-old Sanchez said. “I worked so hard for this day to come.”
Brandon Kintzler pitched the seventh to collect his fifth save in as many tries.
Washington also had one of its top prospects making his big league debut in the nightcap. Right-hander Wil Crowe (0-1) allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings. Corey Dickerson hit a two-run homer in the third and Nationals reliever Seth Romero allowed two inherited runners to score after entering in the fourth.
“I thought he pitched really well,” manager Dave Martinez said of Crowe. “He fell behind a couple times to hitters, but he came right back. Threw the ball well. We didn’t play good defense today, should have made some of those plays. Easy plays to be made.”
In the first game, Kyle Finnegan (1-0) struck out Jorge Alfaro to escape a two-out, bases-loaded jam he inherited from starter Max Scherzer in the fifth to earn his first major league win. Tanner Rainey pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, and Daniel Hudson earned his sixth save with a perfect seventh.
Scherzer surrendered four runs while throwing 108 pitches in 4 2/3 innings. It was the third time in six starts the three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed at least four runs.
“I believe in tough spots in the game, even when the pitch count is above 100, I can excel in those situations,” Scherzer said. “Unfortunately, the past couple games I haven’t done that and I need to get better at that.”
Miami starter Daniel Castano (0-2) got only one out against four batters, allowing two runs.
Washington played as the home team in the regularly scheduled opener. The Marlins served as the home team in nightcap, which was originally part of a July 31-Aug. 2 series in Miami postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak that led to injured list stints for 17 Marlins players.
Marlins: C Francisco Cervelli suffered a concussion during a plate appearance in the second inning and will be placed on the 7-day concussion injured list. “He’s had a history with concussions,” Mattingly said. “He kind of knew it right away. I just feel bad for him.” … LHP Caleb Smith and RHP Jose Urena both had throwing sessions Saturday at Miami’s alternate training site.
Nationals: Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-1, 10.80 ERA) was transferred to the 60-day injured list, effectively ending his season. Strasburg, the World Series MVP last year, was limited to two starts and will undergo carpal tunnel surgery on his pitching hand next week. … Martinez said LHP Sean Doolittle (right knee) will throw to hitters at the team’s alternate training site Sunday. … INF Howie Kendrick (hamstring) was the DH in the opener, his first time in the lineup since Aug. 14.
The Marlins optioned LHP Josh D. Smith to its alternate site between games. … Miami brought up RHP Jesus Tinoco as its 29th man. Tinoco threw two scoreless innings in the opener.
Marlins: RHP Humberto Mejia (0-1, 5.68 ERA) faces a team other than the Mets for the first time in his brief major league career when the series continues Sunday.
Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-3, 8.50) has allowed 39 baserunners (29 hits, nine walks, one hit batsman) over 18 innings in his first four starts of 2020.
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