Prado delivers in the clutch to lift Marlins over Nats
By Joe Frisaro and Bill Ladson
MIAMI -- The Marlins are looking for some timely hitting to get on track, and for the third straight game, Martin Prado has delivered. Prado's single to right in the eighth inning on Friday lifted Miami to a 3-2 win over the Nationals at Marlins Park.
Prado followed up a four-RBI game at Philadelphia with his sixth run batted in over the past three games. His single off Aaron Barrett scored Adeiny Hechavarria, who doubled to open the inning. Miami has won a season-high three straight. Steve Cishek worked a perfect ninth for his first save of the season, and Miami has won a season-high three straight.
Both starters were in command early. Jordan Zimmermann, who no-hit the Marlins in the 2014 season finale at Nationals Park, issued his first hit in the second inning, a one-out single to Marcell Ozuna. In six innings, Zimmermann gave up two runs on six hits.
Miami's Mat Latos had his best outing of the season, giving up two runs in 6 1/3 innings, striking out four.
"When you're up against a great pitcher like Zimmermann, you know you're not going to get a lot," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We battled them, and matched the zeroes, and gave ourselves a chance to win."
The Nationals broke on top in the fourth inning on Ian Desmond's double and Bryce Harper's sacrifice fly. Harper added a game-tying, two-out RBI single in the sixth inning, making it 2-2.
Miami grabbed the lead in the fifth, scoring a pair of two-out runs. Latos helped his cause with an RBI single to center, scoring Ichiro Suzuki from second. Dee Gordon's single to right made it 2-1. But on the play, Harper threw out Gordon trying to extend the hit into a double.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Harper puts the ball in the air: The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, when Desmond scored on a sacrifice fly by Harper. Two innings later, Harper tied the score at 2 when he singled to right field, scoring Denard Span. More >
"It's the latter innings. We can't get a guy in. They get a guy in. They win the ball game. We have to keep plugging along, keep doing what we need to do," Harper said.
Latos delivers with bat: In his first at-bat, Latos drove the ball into the gap in left-center, but it was run down on the warning track by Jayson Werth. But in the fifth, it was Latos' liner to center that did the damage. Latos' two-out single drove in Ichiro, tying the game at one. It was the 14th RBI of his career, and first of the season for Latos. It kept alive what was a two-run inning. More >
Zimmermann has quality start: Zimmermann was cruising for 4 2/3 innings until he allowed RBI singles to Latos and Gordon. Zimmermann ended up pitching six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out four batters.
"It's not like they were hitting me hard. Perfect placement. It happens sometimes," Zimmermann said. "Obviously, I didn't walk anyone, which is a big plus. The slider was probably my best pitch tonight. I pounded the zone with fastballs and threw the slider. Most of these guys have a tough time with the slider. I didn't have to throw any curveballs, any changeups. I stuck with what was working and it was an OK night." More >
Ramos offers relief: Latos hadn't gone more than five innings in each of his first three starts. On Friday, the right-hander worked 6 1/3 innings. But in the seventh, he got into a jam, allowing back-to-back singles to Yunel Escobar and Wilson Ramos. A.J. Ramos inherited the jam, but worked out of it, striking out Dan Uggla and retiring pinch-hitter Reed Johnson on a grounder to third.
"We're relaxed. We're getting better and more comfortable as we go. We still have some guys who need to get going offensively. But, this is a team. This is 162 games. You've got to pick each other up. You're not going to have eight guys swinging the bat, red hot. It doesn't work like that. That's why we talk about being a team, picking each other up. When you start winning ballgames, that's what you see." -- Redmond on his team's three-game winning streak
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ichiro's run at history: When Suzuki scored from second base on Latos' RBI single in the fifth, it gained the 41-year-old a piece of Japanese history. Ichiro now has scored 1,967 professional runs -- 1,309 MLB plus 658 in Japan. That matches Sadaharu Oh's record for most runs by a Japanese player. More >
Nats killer: It shouldn't come as a surprise that Prado drove in the game-winning run on Friday. During his his career against Washington, Prado is 107-for-351 [.300] with eight home runs and 41 RBIs. More >
Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis (fractured right hand) and infielder Don Kelly (fractured right ring finger) will both be examined by a hand specialist next week. The two are each several weeks away from being ready.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: Right-hander Stephen Strasburg takes the mound for Washington. In his last outing, Strasburg was solid for 7 1/3 innings, allowed one run on five hits and struck out seven in the Nationals' 4-1 victory over the Phillies. Strasburg had a perfect game going until the fifth inning, when Carlos Ruiz singled to left field with two outs. Strasburg ended up throwing 95 pitches, and if he hadn't of given up the run in the eighth, manager Matt Williams said the right-hander could have completed the game.
Marlins:Tom Koehler started off strongly in his last start, retiring the first nine he faced. But in the fourth inning, everything unraveled quickly. Koehler allowed seven runs in one-third of an inning and suffered a loss at the Mets. The right-hander aims to rebound on Saturday in the middle of three with the Nationals.