Marlins Down The Nats In 13

Light-hitting Donnie Murphy took a Collin Balester offering deep into the bullpen in the 13th inning on Saturday, leading the Florida Marlins to a 4-1 victory over the Nationals at Nationals Park. The Murphy homer ended a solid string of relief innings for the Nats’ bullpen, accounting for the second straight loss to the Marlins in as many nights.

Once again, the Nationals could not seem to find a way to hit Marlins’ pitching — scattering six hits over 13, and scoring just once. The lone piece of good news at the plate came when Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos connected in the fifth inning off of Chris Volstad for his thirteenth home run of the year.

Of course, the big news of the night was the start of Stephen Strasburg, who pitched brilliantly through six innings, giving up four hits, striking out three, and walking none. Strasburg’s outing provided further evidence that the young righty is on track for a solid 2012, and is continuing his successful rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Phillies clinched their fifth straight N.L. East title with a 9-2 laugher over the St. Louis Cardinals. That the Phillies captured the flag is hardly a surprise, as their victory on Saturday showed. Roy Oswalt threw seven and struck out seven, with Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez homering . . .

While everyone is tuned into the Rays-Red Sox match-up in Boston, the San Francisco Giants have been quietly sneaking up on the Diamondbacks. Last night, the McCoveys held off the Rockies for their seventh straight, while Arizona fell to the Friars. But Arizona’s lead might be too big to overcome: they lead the Giants by five games with ten to play . . .

Florida Marlins fans have been showing up at Nats’ Park with bags over their head — an apparent sign of disgust at their team’s 69-83 record. Fish Stripes is skeptical that the Marlins can reverse their losing ways next season, questioning whether Hanley Ramirez, who had shoulder surgery last week, can really return by opening day . . .

And here’s a tidbit from one of our regular readers, who says that Stephen Strasburg’s start was moved from Friday to Saturday because owner Ted Lerner is an observant Jew and doesn’t attend games on the sabbath. Stephen & Crew should keep that in mind for the future. And hold the oysters . . .

Listen, at least Ted Lerner attends games, which is more than Florida fans can say for David Samson, the president of the Florida Marlins, who many Florida fans view with skepticism — and who is under the gun to put a competitive team on the field for the opening of the Marlins new stadium . . .

Samson was on CNBC this week, talking about the Marlins’ poor attendance, and said that one of the problems the Marlins face is that Miami businessmen don’t attend home games because they feel uncomfortable doing in the middle of Miami’s hot summer in a suit and tie. He predicts Marlins’ attendance will be between 30,000 and 36,000 paid for each and every home game . . .

Samson is probably right (at least he’s right about walking through Miami in a business suit), and who are we to argue with him? A new stadium is essential if the Marlins are to even have a prayer of staying in Miami (and it’s nearly 50 percent completed), but (in our humble opinion), putting a competitive team on the field would also help. After all, you can’t play the Nationals every day . . .

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