WASHINGTON -- On the stat sheet, A.J. Ramos was credited with the save on Friday night in the Marlins' 4-3 win over the Nationals at Nationals Park. Unofficially, you can chalk up a glove save to rookie reliever Kyle Barraclough, the recipient of a fortunate bounce that helped wiggle Miami out of a jam.
Barraclough, in his ninth big league game, was put in a dubious bases-loaded, no-out spot while trying to preserve a two-run lead. He did a masterful job minimizing damage, and he ended the inning by deflecting Wilson Ramos' hot smash to second baseman Dee Gordon, who completed the out.
"Sometimes you've got to get lucky," Barraclough said.
Make no mistake, Barraclough also was very good. With Miami leading 4-2, rookie lefty Adam Conley loaded the bases after walking Bryce Harper. The hard-throwing Barraclough entered and yielded a sacrifice fly to Ryan Zimmerman, making it 4-3. He then struck out Ian Desmond, but walked Danny Espinosa to fill the bases for the second time.
Ramos hit his hot smash on a 96-mph fastball up the middle. Statcast™ had the exit velocity projected at 112 mph. The ball caromed off the pitcher's glove, but Miami caught a break when it went to Gordon, who threw on to first for the third out.
"I was lucky enough to get my hand up and deflect it," Barraclough said. "I thought I caught it at first, too. I kind of like looked into my glove and didn't know where it was and kind of panicked. I saw Dee had it and was like, 'Good.'"
Gordon was on the spot.
"He's been good for us," Gordon said. "I'm just glad it hit his glove. I was going to have to dive to that. He got it to where it was coming to me."
Barraclough, Bryan Morris, Mike Dunn and Ramos combined to throw four shutout innings, securing the series-opening win.
"I feel like everyone has been throwing the ball good lately," Dunn said. "We're just trying to keep the [starters] in the game as long as we can, and if we get a lead, try to lock it down -- one guy at a time.
"[Barraclough] showed good composure, coming into a situation like that. Very rarely are you not going to give up a run. To minimize damage, he did a great job tonight. He's done a great job since he's been here. No matter what situation they've put him in, he's thrown the ball well. He's stayed composed. He stays with his mechanics very well. He believes in his stuff. That's what it takes."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.