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After slow start, Sandy Alcantara dials in as Miami Marlins dominate Nationals

Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald on

Published in Baseball

MIAMI — Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. made his way to the mound in the second inning Monday to talk to the Miami Marlins’ ace who was looking very little like the title with which he has been bestowed. Sandy Alcantara was already at 35 pitches, already had to sneak out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam an inning earlier and already had two more runners on base with just one out.

The message the coach relayed to his pitcher worked.

Alcantara retired the next 20 batters he faced and took advantage of pitching with a lead as the Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 at loanDepot park to begin a three-game series. Miami improves to 16-19, while the Nationals fall to 12-25.

The 26-year-old right-handed pitcher’s final line: Eight innings pitches, one run allowed on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Alcantara threw 100 pitches, 71 of which went for strikes.

It marked the second time this season Alcantara has pitched eight innings, matching his season high on April 20 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Alcantara’s 50 2/3 innings pitched through eight starts lead all MLB pitchers.

But early on, it didn’t look like Alcantara was going to get that far or have that much success on Monday.

 

He gave up hits to three of the first four batters he faced — singles to Cesar Hernandez, Josh Bell and Yadiel Hernandez with a Juan Soto groundout mixed in — to give the Nationals an early 1-0 lead. He then hit Kiebert Ruiz with a pitch to load the bases with one out before getting out of the jam when Brian Anderson fielded Maikel Franco’s weakly hit ground ball and threw home for a force out and then Lane Thomas was called out on strikes to cap a 23-pitch first inning.

In the second, Alcantara got Dee Strange-Gordon to hit into a quick groundout before hitting Victor Robles with a pitch and walking Hernandez and prompting Stottlemyre to make his mound meeting.

Alcantara wouldn’t let another batter reach base.

Soto and Bell both grounded out to end the second, and Alcantara needed just 57 total pitches for his final six innings of work.

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