By Damian Cristodero and Ben Standig
Special to MLB.com |
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to overcome a two-run deficit and beat the Marlins, 6-4, Monday at Nationals Park.
Yunel Escobar capped a 5-for-5 performance with a sharp single to right field that scored two runs to break a 4-4 tie. Ian Desmond's two-run home run to center field -- both hits coming off reliever Bryan Morris -- brought the Nationals back from a 4-2 deficit. The four runs in the inning were one more than Washington scored in its past three games combined -- a pair of 1-0 wins and a 4-0 loss, all against the Mets.
"It was just a matter of time before the guys were going to break through," said Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann, who went seven strong innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits. "They did it late in the game, and it was good to see."
"It just gives them confidence that they're never out of a game," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
Reliever Tanner Roark closed out Miami in the ninth, battling back from a 3-0 count to strike out Giancarlo Stanton to end the game. It was Washington's third straight win and sixth in the past seven games.
The Marlins scored twice with two outs in the eighth inning on RBI singles by Jeff Baker (a line drive to right field) and Ichiro Suzuki (an infield hit over second base) off reliever Matt Grace to take a 4-2 lead. It was a forgettable outing for Grace, who entered with runners on first and second and two outs, but still got the win.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Covering some ground: The Marlins got an unearned run in the first inning when Jayson Werth dropped Stanton's one-out line drive to left, but it could have been a lot worse for the Nationals. With the bases loaded, right fielder Bryce Harper broke quickly to his left on J.T. Realmuto's sinking liner and made a sliding catch to end the inning.
Roark amped up: Roark usually throws in the 91-92 mph range, but his velocity hit 95 mph in the ninth inning, though he struck out Stanton with a slider. "Definitely amped up, big-time," Roark said. "He's a great hitter. I was trying to make him chase my pitches and it worked out that way."
Roark usually is not a closer, but with Aaron Barrett and Drew Storen unavailable after recent heavy workloads, Roark stepped in to get the first save of his career. "If you walk him, you walk him," Roark said of falling behind 3-0 to Stanton. "But you can't let him hurt you there, so you've got to give everything you've got and execute your pitch. Luckily it worked out."
King of the hill:David Phelps' impressive stretch as a starting pitcher continued, though he received a no-decision.The right-hander deftly avoided damage in the fifth inning with two runners on base. Phelps buckled down by not letting Werth or Harper hit the ball out of the infield. Werth did drive in a run charged to Phelps -- against reliever Sam Dyson -- in the seventh. Phelps was pulled after walking Clint Robinson with one out. More >
Bour stepping in for Morse:Justin Bour, who grew up in the Virginia suburbs, started at first base for the scuffling Michael Morse and homered for the first time this season to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh. Morse, out of the lineup for the second time in the last three games, is hitting .193 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 88 at-bats. "What we can do is give him some breaks and try to get him going," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said of Morse.
"It was a tough night, no doubt. We coughed up two leads late. You can't go on the road and cough up leads. That'll cost you. We had some walks late in the game that came back to haunt us." -- Redmond
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Harper's two walks allowed him to extend his career-best on-base streak to 20 games. Harper has walked 23 times during the streak that began April 14 at Boston.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins:Mat Latos aims for his first win this season in Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. ET start, when he faces the Nationals for the second time in two weeks. The right-hander allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision on April 24. He tweaked his left hamstring during a start against the Mets last week, but was cleared to return after throwing a successful bullpen session Saturday.
Nationals:Stephen Strasburg goes for a second straight victory. The right-hander is 9-6 in 20 starts against the Marlins, and 12 times has held Miami to one or zero earned runs.