The Washington Nationals will look to complete their first three-game sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon when they host the Miami Marlins.
The Nationals (51-94) belted four solo home runs on Saturday en route to a 5-3 win over the Marlins (59-87), who have dropped two straight and four of their past five games. Washington has won two straight after a five-game losing streak.
After winning the series opener 5-4 on Friday, Lane Thomas, Luke Voit, Victor Robles and Alex Call each went deep for the Nationals on Saturday.
“Don’t get me wrong; I like homers,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “But I also like homers the right way. These guys swung the bats well today. We hit some balls hard. We hit some balls that went out of the ballpark, which is really nice.”
Nationals starter Erick Fedde was pulled after allowing three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks in four innings. Hunter Harvey pitched a scoreless fifth inning and Erasmo Ramirez did the same in the sixth and seventh.
Carl Edwards Jr. took care of the eighth before Kyle Finnegan struck out the side in ninth for his 10th save in 14 chances.
The Nationals will close the series against perhaps the last pitcher they want to face: Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara (12-8, 2.43 ERA).
Alcantara is 2-0 with a 0.78 and 16 strikeouts against just four walks in starts spanning 23 innings against the Nationals this season.
He was magnificent against Washington in his most recent start on June 8. He allowed just six hits with six strikeouts and no walks in nine shutout innings before the Marlins posted a 2-1 win in 10 innings.
Alcantara is 4-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 11 starts against the Nationals in his career.
Alcantara is coming off allowing just two runs on eight hits in seven innings in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
He’s thrown 203 2/3 innings this season, two shy of the career high he set last season.
“It means a lot to me. I thank God for keeping me healthy,” Alcantara said of throwing more than 200 innings for the second straight season. “Super happy about it. And hopefully, it won’t be just last year and this year, but every year.”
The Nationals will counter with right-hander Anibal Sanchez (2-5, 4.56), who allowed one run on two hits with three walks in two innings in a 7-5 loss to the Phillies last Sunday. Sanchez was limited to two innings because he didn’t return to the mound after a three-hour, 36-minute rain delay.
“The biggest thing with him is that he’s around the zone with all his pitches, and it makes him effective,” Martinez said of Sanchez, who hasn’t been saddled with a loss since Aug. 8. “His mechanics are really good, so he’s pitching well.”
Sanchez, who hasn’t faced the Marlins since 2020, is 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA with 39 strikeouts and 19 walks spanning 50 innings over 10 appearances (nine starts) versus Miami.
–Field Level Media