Eyeing final rotation spot, Koehler turns in solid outing
Marlins righty limits Nationals to two runs in six innings; Stanton hits RBI double
JUPITER, Fla. -- A couple of fifth-starter candidates made strong cases to earn rotation spots on a soggy Monday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium.
Taylor Jordan surrendered one run in 5 2/3 innings, while Nate McLouth homered and drove in two runs as the Nationals defeated the Marlins, 4-1.
Miami's Tom Koehler was solid in six innings, but he was hurt twice by McLouth, who belted a homer to right field to open the sixth.
"I thought Tommy did all right," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Today was one of those days where you had the weather, and we weren't sure we were going to start on time. He got off to a rough start from the beginning. You're not going to have your best stuff every day.
"He minimized the damage, and got through it. If that had been the regular season, he gave us a chance. He gave us some solid innings. I think sometimes that's good for pitchers to go through days like that, where you have to pitch, and you have to keep grinding out innings. He was able to do that."
Giancarlo Stanton's RBI double was the lone run allowed by Jordan, who scattered five hits in his 86-pitch performance.
Koehler and Jordan are looking to lock down fifth-starter rotation spots for their respective clubs.
Washington won all four Grapefruit League matchups with Miami this spring.
About an hour before game-time, there were questions as to whether the game would be played. Because of rain, the teams were preparing for at least a half-hour delay. Instead, it cleared enough, and the grounds crew was able to get the field ready for first pitch..
The game started with Koehler surrendering three consecutive hits, which led to a run. Denard Span was credited with a single on a hard-grounder that went off the glove of first baseman Garrett Jones. But Koehler picked Span off.
Jeff Kobernus singled and scored on McLouth's RBI double down the right-field line.
After McLouth's double, Koehler didn't allow a hit until the sixth, when McLouth belted a home run to lead off the inning, giving the Nationals a two-run advantage.
The Marlins threatened in the first, but Jordan worked out of the jam. Jake Marisnick doubled to open the inning and he moved to third on Christian Yelich's groundout to second.
Miami's chance to pull even was denied when Stanton struck out and Jones tapped to second.
Jordan held the Marlins scoreless until the sixth inning when Stanton laced an RBI double to right-center. Yelich, who singled, raced home to trim Washington's lead to 2-1.
Craig Stammen relieved Jordan with two outs in the sixth, and retired Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a grounder to first, stranding the potential tying run at second.
In the seventh, the Nationals added an insurance run on Span's fielder's-choice RBI off Mike Dunn.
Up next: Opening Day starter Jose Fernandez will make his final Grapefuit League appearance, facing the Cardinals on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Fernandez's pitch count will be in the 90 range. In the spring, Fernandez is 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA. The Cardinals will go with Lance Lynn.