Dietrich's blast not enough for Marlins offense

Dietrich's blast not enough for Marlins offense

MIAMI -- When opposing starter Joe Ross exited with a blister on his right middle finger after two innings on Wednesday the Marlins felt that could be their breakthrough moment.

It never happened because Yusmeiro Petit picked up four innings, allowing just a Derek Dietrich home run that was the only scoring for the Marlins in their 3-1 loss to the Nationals at Marlins Park.

Miami's brief offensive spark was delivered by Dietrich, who blistered a Petit offering over the right-center-field wall in the fifth inning, closing the gap to 3-1. Statcast™ projected the dinger at 411 feet from home plate, with an exit velocity of 105 mph.

"[Dietrich] gives us a little hope there," manager Don Mattingly said. "He gets us on the board."

From that point, the Marlins collected just two singles. They finished with five hits and one walk, and they didn't advance a baserunner as far as second, aside from Dietrich's home run. Christian Yelich had two hits and a walk.

But Miami left just three on base, and the offense didn't have a plate appearance with a runner in scoring position.

"I think we just need to start putting some better at-bats together, more consistently, one after another," Dietrich said. "It's nice when you get a big hit, but you've got to get guys on base consistently, a couple of guys an inning. It's a lot easier winning ballgames that way than waiting on a big home run from [Giancarlo Stanton] or something like that."

Mattingly, who celebrated his 55th birthday on Wednesday, stacked his lineup with left-handed hitters against Ross, who is tougher on righties than lefties. Five of Miami's first six hitters were lefties, including Dietrich, who made the start at third in place of Martin Prado.

"We weren't sure of what the deal was with Ross coming out of the game," Dietrich said. "We weren't sure he was hurt on the bases, and we found out it was a blister. We kind of thought we caught a break there because Ross has been pitching well."

Petit, a crafty veteran, has a different approach than Ross.

"He definitely is a different style than Ross," Mattingly said. "He's going to use a number of pitches, and pitch backwards.

"Obviously, they were keeping us off balance. They were changing speeds, and we weren't able to break through."

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.