Walks haunt Chen in loss to Nationals

Walks haunt Chen in loss to Nationals

MIAMI -- For the Marlins to get their season moving in the right direction, they'll need their starting pitchers to lead the way. Wei-Yin Chen did his part on Wednesday, logging a team season-high seven innings, while allowing three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts.

But Chen was hurt by two walks -- both runners would come around to score -- and he surrendered a home run to Michael Taylor that was enough for the Nationals to edge Miami, 3-1, at Marlins Park.

"Those were mistakes. I tried to keep [the pitches] down," Chen said through an interpreter. "I got ahead in the counts, but I didn't finish the hitters. I should have done a better job, but, unfortunately, I didn't, so it was a bad result."

Anthony Rendon walked and scored on Ryan Zimmerman's first-inning double. In the third, opposing starter Joe Ross drew a walk and scored on Bryce Harper's two-out double.

Harper's RBI double

In the fifth, with two outs, Taylor went deep to right-center field.

Taylor's solo home run

"The location of that pitch wasn't perfect, but it wasn't that bad of a pitch," Chen said. "All I can say is he hit it really well. At the moment, I wanted to keep the ball down. He just hit it really well."

Keeping the damage to a minimum, Chen became the first Marlins starter to go at least seven innings since Justin Nicolino (seven) on Oct. 3, 2015, at Philadelphia.

Chen last tossed as many as seven frames on Sept. 19, 2015, when he was with the Orioles, against the Rays.

"They just kind of scratched him for a couple," manager Don Mattingly said.

Marlins starters have thrown just 69 innings, which is tied with the Brewers for 27th in the Majors.

"Today, I was happy that I could do the damage control," Chen said. "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."

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.