Marlins rough up Nats again

Reliever Osuna involved in second 6-run eighth of series as Beckett wins, 8-0

Baseball

April 11, 2005|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,SUN STAFF

MIAMI - The Florida Marlins have developed an early-season formula to beat the Washington Nationals.

Put their best starting pitchers on the mound, scratch out a few runs and wait for Washington reliever Antonio Osuna to come out of the bullpen in the eighth inning.

For the second time in three days, one of Florida's "big three" young starters threw blanks while its offense turned a taut thriller into a blowout against Osuna.

Yesterday, it was Josh Beckett's turn to pitch a shutout in Florida's 8-0 victory in front of 25,089 at Dolphins Stadium.

Beckett allowed five hits and a walk while striking out 11, the fifth time in the 24-year-old's career that he has fanned 10 or more. It was his second regular-season complete game.

"We made him look outstanding," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "He had good stuff, he mixes up his pitches and moves them around in the strike zone. And he doesn't walk too many people. He pitched very well.

"We didn't do anything against him," Robinson added. "We made him look even better."

In 28 innings in Miami, the Nationals (3-3) scored just three runs while dropping two of three.

They were shut out, 9-0, Friday by Dontrelle Willis, in a game eerily similar to yesterday's. Both were tight pitchers' duels until the bottom of the eighth, when the Marlins erupted for six runs each time. Osuna absorbed the majority of the blows in both.

"I have to stay with him, which I will," Robinson said of his veteran reliever. "We have to find a situation in which he can have some success and feel good about himself and get his confidence back."

Osuna was charged with all six runs Friday and four more yesterday, pushing his ERA to 42.43. He gave up a grand slam to Juan Encarnacion and was on the mound when all six runs scored to pad Beckett's lead.

Osuna said he was leaning too far back during his warm-up, but he refused to attribute his poor outing to bad mechanics.

"I never have excuses," Osuna said. "They killed me."

The game was scoreless through six, with Washington starter John Patterson matching Beckett. One good piece of hitting in the seventh, though, proved costly.

Florida's Carlos Delgado led off the inning with a bloop single and moved to second on a one-out walk by Encarnacion. With two on and two outs, Patterson attempted to throw a 0-1 cut fastball down and away to pinch hitter Paul Lo Duca.

Lo Duca flared the ball to right field for a two-run double.

"I was trying to get him to chase something out of the [strike] zone," said Patterson (0-1), who gave up six hits in seven innings. "He chased it and was able to hit it fair."

The double was the only real blemish on Patterson's first start of the season.

"He pitched a heck of a game," Robinson said. "He gave us a chance to win. We just couldn't put anything on the board."

Despite losing the series, the Nationals have an even record two-thirds of their way through the season-opening, nine-game road trip.

"We wanted to win today, take another series, and I would have been very content with that," Robinson said. "But as far as being 3-3 and opening on the road, you are holding your own, so you can be satisfied with that.

"But I'm not content with it."

Nationals tonight

Opponent: Atlanta Braves

Site, time: Turner Field, Atlanta, 7:35

TV/Radio: TBS, Ch. 20/104.1 FM

Starters: Nationals' Zach Day (0-0, 4.76) vs. Braves' Mike Hampton (0-0, 1.50)

Nats schedule

The week ahead

Date Opponent Time

4/11 at Atlanta 7:35

4/12 at Atlanta 7:35

4/13 at Atlanta 1:05

4/14 Arizona 7:05

4/16 Arizona 7:05

4/17 Arizona 1:05

4/18 Florida 7:05

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