Taylor homers, 'pen strong as Nats beat Marlins

Taylor homers, 'pen strong as Nats beat Marlins

MIAMI -- A blister may have cut short Joe Ross' outing after two innings, but not much is slowing down Bryce Harper and the Nationals' offense lately. Harper laced an RBI double, and Michael Taylor delivered a solo home run on Wednesday night in a 3-1 win over Miami at Marlins Park.

Ross didn't get a chance to qualify for the win because he didn't work the necessary five innings due to a blister on his right middle finger. After leading off the third inning and drawing a walk, he scored on Harper's double. Ross was replaced by Yusmeiro Petit, who allowed just a Derek Dietrich home run in four innings of relief.

Ross exits with blister

"I guess it was a nice finish to a short outing," Ross said.

Marlins lefty Wei-Yin Chen scattered six hits and struck out seven, but he was victimized by two walks, which both led to runs, and Taylor's two-out homer in the fifth.

"They kind of got [Chen] one at a time," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "They just kind of scratched him for a couple. He pitched good. We've got to put something together for them."

The Nationals have now won two straight after the Marlins claimed the four-game series opener on Monday. Miami is 1-7 at Marlins Park.

Injury bug strikes:  With the exception of outfielder Ben Revere, the Nationals had nearly escaped the injury bug that plagued them for much of last season -- until they lost two key players during Wednesday night's game. First, a blister forced Ross to an early exit in the third, then Jayson Werth was replaced in left field in the fifth.

Ross, who has dealt with blisters in the past, did not consider the injury serious, but he was not sure if he would be able to make his next start. Manager Dusty Baker said Werth was removed strictly as a precaution, although he was scheduled to have an off-day on Thursday anyway. More >

Ross leaves the game

Getting through seven: It took 13 games, but finally a Miami starter has logged as many as seven innings. Chen made it through the elusive seventh on exactly 100 pitches. The lefty scattered six hits, including a homer to Taylor, and three runs. In Tuesday's 7-0 loss, Marlins lefty Adam Conley reached 6 2/3 frames, the previous innings high. Getting through seven on Wednesday came with a struggle, as Danny Espinosa prolonged the seventh with a two-out single. But Chen fanned pinch-hitter Clint Robinson on his 100th pitch. More >

"Today, I was happy that I could do the damage control," Chen said through an interpreter. "I allowed some runs, but I didn't allow any big innings. That's what I'm happy about. But, still, it wasn't a perfect outing. I will still have to work hard, and, hopefully, I'll have a better outing next time."

Petit in relief: The injury to Ross could have taxed Washington's bullpen if not for Petit, who filled his role as the Nationals' long reliever perfectly. Thrown into the game unexpectedly, Petit fired four innings and allowed just one run for the Nationals, giving up a pair of hits (one homer) without issuing a walk. He struck out three batters in a clutch performance out of the bullpen. Washington's bullpen in total surrendered one run on four hits in seven innings.

"I feel very comfortable in this role," Petit said through an interpreter. "I've been doing it for a while, and I've been getting used to it, and I've had a lot of success. I like the urgency that I feel when preparing to come in, not knowing when I'm going to come in. It's helped me have a lot of success." More >

Petit earns the win

Dietrich ends drought: Shut out on Tuesday, the Marlins saw their offensive struggles carry over to Wednesday. It took until the fifth inning to get on the board, on Dietrich's home run off Petit to right-center. The drive ended a string of 14 straight scoreless innings for the Marlins, stemming back to the seventh on Monday. Statcast™ projected Dietrich's first homer of the season at 411 feet from home plate, with an exit velocity of 105 mph.

But Dietrich's blast was all the scoring Miami could manufacture.

"We've got to get back to doing whatever we can to get on base, and give ourselves a chance to get runs across the plate," Dietrich said. More >

Dietrich's solo home run

"Any time you don't hit, you feel a little flat. You're not getting guys out there. When that's going on, it's always a battle." -- Mattingly on Miami's five hits and leaving three on base

"I was hoping that it didn't get to that, which it always does." -- Baker on Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton coming to the plate in the ninth as the tying run

Miami's Dietrich has never been afraid to "take one for the team." The left-handed hitter, who crowds the plate, was hit by a Ross pitch in the second inning. It marked the 31st time in 206 big league games that he has been plunked. His latest HBP came on his 717th plate appearance.

Nationals: Max Scherzer will make his fourth start of the year for the Nationals at 1:10 p.m. ET Thursday. He has allowed seven runs in 20 innings (3.15 ERA) with a 20-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio through his first three starts this year.

Marlins: The four-game series wraps up at 1:10 p.m. ET on Thursday at Marlins Park. Tom Koehler (0-2, 6.30 ERA) gets the start that concludes the homestand. Koehler is 3-7 (4.45 ERA) lifetime against Washington.

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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. Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.