Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Washington leads 1-0 (as of 4/1)

Game 1: Monday, April 1
Miami0Final
Washington2
Game 2: Wednesday, April 3
Miami0Final
Washington3
Game 3: Thursday, April 4
Miami1Final
Washington6

Marlins 0

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Nationals 2

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    Coverage:  FXFL/MASN

    1:05 PM ET, April 1, 2013

    Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. 

    123456789 R H E
    MIA 000000000 0 3 0
    WSH 10010000 - 2 5 0

    W: S. Strasburg (1-0)

    L: R. Nolasco (0-1)

    S: R. Soriano (1)

    Nationals 2, Marlins 0

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON -- There are many things the Miami Marlins could be lacking this season, and one of them is a margin for error. Can't throw a curveball to Bryce Harper and not expect him to swing. Can't get two men on base against Stephen Strasburg and commit a baserunning error.

    Not the sort of mistake Mike Redmond needed to see in his managerial debut.

    The low-budget, low-expectation Marlins opened their season Monday with a 2-0 loss to the Washington Nationals, who got two home runs from reigning NL Rookie of the Year Harper and seven innings from ace right-hander Strasburg.

    Ricky Nolasco (0-1) pitched about as well as he could -- except for a 73-mph curve to Harper in the first inning and an 85-mph slider in the fourth. Both wound up in the seats beyond right-center, prompting a few "M-V-P!" chants from the sellout crowd.

    "One-oh curveball. I really wasn't expecting him to swing, but when you throw it right down the middle like that, belt-high," Nolasco said with a shrug.

    Nolasco stymied the rest of the Nationals' order, striking out Ryan Zimmerman three times and keeping Jayson Werth (0 for 4) and Adam LaRoche (0 for 3) off the bases as well. The right-hander worked six innings, allowing three hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

    But then there was Harper.

    "The kid's locked in. He had a good spring," Nolasco said. "Didn't make the best pitches to him, and he didn't miss `em."

    The Marlins managed only three hits off Strasburg (1-0), but there were chances to score. Juan Pierre was on third in the top of the first when Placido Polanco hit a grounder not quite enough toward the hole. Zimmerman moved to his left from third base and came up with the ball.

    And, in the seventh, with runners at the corners, Polanco got caught in a rundown between first and second on a fly to left. The ball was too shallow to score Giancarlo Stanton from third, yet Polanco took off because he saw the throw sail over the cutoff man.

    The throw -- from Harper, of all people -- rocketed to catcher Wilson Ramos on the fly, and Polanco was stranded far from safety. Stanton then tried to score, so the rally-killing, inning-ending double play went down in the books as 7-2-3-4-2.

    "Once you tag from first base, you read the ball, right?" Polanco said. "If it's a high throw, you go. If it's a low throw, you come back. It was a high throw, and I kept going."

    A tough break, Redmond said.

    "That's an opportunity," Redmond said. "We gave them an extra out there. ... We only had three hits, so anytime you are in a 2-0 game and you make a mistake, it's going to be magnified."

    Before the game, the trade-depleted Marlins witnessed a sight they can't realistically expect to replicate at their own new stadium next season. The various pregame ceremonies lasted nearly an hour as the Nationals celebrated their 98-win 2012 by unveiling a sign atop the outfield scoreboard that proclaims them as the "NL East Division Champions." They also honored Harper for his rookie honor, Davey Johnson for his NL Manager of the Year award, and their recipients of Gold Glove and Silver Slugger trophies.

    A regular-season Nationals Park-record crowd of 45,274 roared during player introductions and kept on clapping and yelling through the game.

    "I was telling the kids that's what you get when you win," said the 35-year-old Pierre, who won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003. "Fans, the scoreboard, all that stuff. You've got to sit and watch it, so I think it was good for us to have to sit and watch it, and hopefully we can be doing something like that."

    "I could do without seeing all of it," Pierre added. "But you remember that stuff, and hopefully you work to get an opening day like that where you can be celebrating something on the other side."

    Game notes


    Nolasco dominated in his last two starts against the Nationals last year, with two complete-game shutouts in Marlins victories. "That team over there is not as bad as everyone thinks they are," Zimmerman said. "Ricky is a really good pitcher. We've had trouble with him in the past." ... Before the game, Redmond spoke of well-wishing text messages he had received and tried to put his best spin on the team. "We're trying to win as many ballgames as we can, but we've got to focus on development," the manager said. "We've got a lot of young guys. We've got a lot of young guys that we've got to get better." ... On injured RHPs Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, both on the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation, Redman said it will "probably a few weeks before those guys are built back up and ready for game action."

    ---

    Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    Game Information

    StadiumNationals Park, Washington, D.C.
    Attendance45,274 (109.1% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time2:10
    Weather61 degrees, partly cloudy
    Wind15 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Chad Fairchild

    Research Notes

    Stephen Strasburg induced just 2 swings and misses on Monday, his fewest in any career appearance. For his career, he averaged 11 whiffs per game prior to today. Overall, the Marlins made contact on 94% of swings, also a career high against Strasburg. Last year, Strasburg ranked 5th in the NL (min 100 IP), with batters making contact on only 73% of swings against him. For context, Bartolo Colon was last in the MLB at inducing swings and misses in 2012 and batters still missed 11% of the time against him (compared to 6% for Strasburg today). Another potential concern to keep an eye on: Strasburg got the Marlins to chase on just 5 out of 31 pitches he located outside the strikezone, a chase rate of 16%. That's exactly half the rate that Strasburg established over his first 3 seasons.
      [+]
    Bryce Harper is the youngest player with multiple home runs in his team's 1st game of the season.
      [+]
    Bryce Harper is the third player in franchise history to hit two home runs on opening day. The others were both in Montreal - Vlad Guerrero (2000) and Al Oliver (1983).

    ESPN Stats & Information