May 15, 2011, 11:17 PM EDT
There aren’t many better feelings for a big-league pitcher than taking the mound in the second inning with a 6-run lead.
“Oh, it’s definitely nice,” Jason Marquis said. “You can attack the strike zone a little bit more comfortably. I didn’t feel my best today with my rhythm and my delivery. So it allowed me some room for error with my mistakes.”
Of course, Marquis had the leeway to make a few mistakes on the mound Sunday thanks in large part to what he did at the plate during that early rally. It was his two-out, two-run double off Marlins starter Javier Vazquez that brought runs No. 5 and 6 home and set the Nationals well on their way to an 8-4 victory.
It’s no surprise when Marquis helps his own cause with the bat. He’s a career .204 hitter, with 53 RBI in 548 at-bats over 12 big-league seasons.
The bigger surprise is that he didn’t contribute more offensively last season when he hit a paltry .136, his worst showing in eight years. You know how position players sometimes take their hitting slumps into the field with them? Maybe Marquis took his pitching woes to the
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