Miami rookie outfielder Jesus Sanchez will bring a three-game home run streak to town when the Marlins open a three-game series at the Washington Nationals on Monday night.
Sanchez, who will be 24 in October, went 3-for-4 with a single, triple and a home run in the Marlins’ 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. Sanchez went 5-for-12 in the series with three home runs and four RBIs.
“The kid is strong as an ox,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “If he’s hitting balls, they’re going. Like the ball today, he hits it good to center, but he can do more. His power is big.”
The weekend series was a turnaround of sorts for Sanchez, who had gone 2-for-20 with 13 strikeouts in his previous five games. He’s hitting .241 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 58 games overall.
Miami (60-83), which dropped two of three at Atlanta after taking two of three from the visiting New York Mets, will start right-hander Sandy Alcantara (8-13, 3.24 ERA) against Washington right-hander Paolo Espino (4-4, 4.35) in the opener.
Since a 10-run, 3 2/3-inning debacle against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 6, Alcantara has been on a roll. The Marlins are 3-3 in his past six starts, and he’s pitched to a 1.83 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings.
Last time out, the 26-year-old allowed a run on four hits in nine innings while striking out a career-high 14 batters in a no-decision against the New York Mets.
“Everything he did was insane,” Miami catcher Alex Jackson said. “He executed every single pitch. The confidence that he had on the mound was tremendous, and that allows us to just work together and do our thing.”
Alcantara is 1-6 with a 6.50 ERA in seven starts against the Nationals, including a loss on June 27 when he gave up four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Fifteen of Espino’s 31 appearances this season have been starts and he’s been a regular in the rotation since mid-July. Last time out he gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings while losing to Atlanta.
“We’ve got to get a little bit more from our starting pitchers and keep us close,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said afterwards. “When we do that, we end up winning ballgames.”
Espino is 0-0 with a 5.00 ERA in three games — one start — versus the Marlins. The start came on July 20 of this year when Espino tossed five shutout innings, allowing four hits, in a game the Nationals eventually won.
On Sunday, Washington (59-84) avoided a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh with a 6-2 victory, just the Nationals’ fourth win in their past 16 games.
Patrick Corbin (8-14) pitched seven innings and Lane Thomas, Alex Avila and Luis Garcia homered to help Washington end a three-game losing streak.
Thomas, whose three-run homer to right center gave the Nationals a 5-2 lead, is slugging .528 since coming over from the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline.
“We knew he had good bat-to-ball skills,” Martinez said of Thomas. “Pull power? Yeah. We thought he could drive some balls. But going the other way is awesome. It’s good to see.”
Juan Soto had two hits in three at-bats, raising his average to .311, and also walked twice.
–Field Level Media
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