THE RESULT: John Lannan pitched beautifully through six and a third innings, but the bullpen--notably Joel Hanrahan and Saul Rivera--squandered his good work and the Florida Marlins (9-1) rallied for single runs in the ninth and tenth innings to beat the Washington Nationals 3-2.

Lannan allowed just three hits and one walk and struck out eight in 6.1 innings. He threw 98 pitches, 64 for strikes. The 24-year old lefty turned a 2-1 lead over to the bullpen, and while Julian Tavarez, Mike Hinckley and Joe Beimel did their jobs, Hanrahan and Rivera did not.

Hanrahan was called on to for his first save opportunity of the season, and instead gave up a solo home run to Cody Ross with one out in the top of the ninth to blow the save. In the tenth, Rivera allowed consecutive singles to Jorge Cantu, Dan Uggla and Jeremy Hermida to take the loss.

The Nats (1-8) pounded out 12 hits, but left 10 men on base. Alberto Gonzalez had three hits and an RBI double, while Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman and Jesus Flores all had two hits apiece.

Manager Manny Acta was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Tim Timmons on a close strikeout call against Elijah Dukes before the start of the fourth inning.

THE TAKEAWAY: Well, you're not going to win them all. Or two in row, for now. Lannan looked great, commanding all his pitches and striking out eight along the way. That's two good starts in a row, and a good place to build confidence for the team.

THE GOOD: John Lannan. This is a no-brainer. It's the John Lannan everyone wanted to see opening day. Not only good pitching, but two good sacrifice bunts and another at bat that lasted at least ten pitches.

THE BAD: Middle of the Order. The 4-5-6 hitters, Dunn, Dukes and Willingham, combined to go 1-for-12 with three strikeouts and two walks.

THE UGLY: Joel Hanrahan. It's tough when you make one bad pitch and it makes you the goat, but such is the life of the closer. In his first save opportunity he surrendered the solo shot by Ross to tie the game up. Very deflating.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Scott Olsen (0-2, 14.63) faces Josh Johnson (2-0, 0.57). Reverse lock, anyone?

NOTES: Adam Dunn started in right field for the first time this season.

After the game, Cristian Guzman was placed on the 15-day DL and the Nationals purchased the contract of Alex Cintron to back up the middle infield in Guzman's absence.

For the first several innings, Dunn and Zimmerman's jerseys were missing the "O" out of "NATIONALS" on the front of their jerseys. Team equipment managers noticed the gaffe watching the game on the clubhouse television and replaced the uniforms midway through the game.



Photos 2009 © Cheryl Nichols. All Rights Reserved.