MIAMI -- Vance Worley was in Nationals camp this spring on a Minor League invite. But after missing out on making it as a long reliever or spot starter, he signed with the Marlins. On Wednesday night at Marlins Park, Worley showed the Nats what he's up to now, putting on his best performance of the year in a 7-0 win over Washington.
Worley faced the minimum during seven shutout innings against one of the National League's top ranked offenses in Miami's four-hit shutout. Worley did not walk a batter and gave up just two hits, inducing a double play each time -- part of a career-high 16 groundouts. The Marlins took two out of three games in this series, and Worley earned his first victory since May 2016.
"Really, it was just keeping the ball down," Worley said. "The defense was playing big behind me tonight. The bats came alive and put runs on the board, and it made things to where I wasn't trying to throw the perfect pitch. These guys are aggressive -- I've known that from the past -- and even in the spring. I think I line up again against them, so we'll see how I can keep them off balance again in a few days."
"I saw him in the spring and I thought he was a good pitcher," Nats catcher Jose Lobaton said. "He was mixing good, two-seamer away and cutter in, was working really good. Looked like it was right there, but when you tried to hit it, it was like running."
Worley was backed by a strong performance from Dee Gordon, who went 3-for-4, scored three runs and stole his 40th base of the year, and Christian Yelich, who drove in three runs, including two on a homer in the fifth. Derek Dietrich also hit a two-run homer in the inning against Nationals right-hander A.J. Cole, who was making a spot start because the team needed an extra starter after a rainout and a doubleheader. Cole gave up five runs in five innings as the Nationals lost for the fourth time in the past six games.
"We really threw the ball pretty good this series," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We almost get no-hit [Monday], but Jose [Urena] goes eight. He threw the ball great, gives up one run. All their runs it seemed like came in one inning the second day, and today we threw the ball really well. Our bullpen did a nice job last night. Vance threw the ball great today. We've been throwing the ball all right."
The Marlins went 5-2 on their homestand and improved to 51-55.
"It wasn't a very good night for us," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "It wasn't a very good night offensively. It wasn't a very good night pitching-wise."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED With the glove and the bat: A spectacular night for Yelich was highlighted by his performance in the fifth. On defense, he charged in to make a diving catch in center field to rob Anthony Rendon of a hit.
Then in the bottom of the inning, Yelich extended the Marlins' lead against Cole with a two-run homer, his 13th dinger of the year. The ball traveled 402 feet as tracked by Statcast™, with a 108-mph exit velocity.
"We're trying to play hard every night," Yelich said. "It's been a different guy for us the last couple of days. That was a nice one today." More >
Stanton seals it:Giancarlo Stanton appeared to rob Nats outfielder Brian Goodwin of a two-run homer in the ninth inning for the final out. Goodwin hit the ball 338 feet off right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne before Stanton made a leaping catch at the right-field wall.
"I wasn't sure if it was going over," Stanton said. "But I knew to give a good pass at it regardless." More >
"Wins are contagious. We've been working hard as a team, on and off the field, to make things fun in here. You know how hard it is when you're hearing about team sales and trades, and now that all of that has passed, now we're just going out there and having fun." -- Worley
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Gordon's single in the third inning extended his hitting streak to 13 games, matching his career high. In the series opener on Monday, Gordon's leadoff single in the ninth inning stopped Gio Gonzalez's no-hit bid.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: Following an off-day Thursday, the Nationals begin a three-game potential postseason preview at Wrigley Field with the Cubs, beginning Friday at 2:20 p.m. ET. Right-hander Tanner Roark will be on the mound for Washington, trying to bounce back after giving up four runs in five innings with four walks in his last outing.
Marlins: After an off-day on Thursday, the Marlins open a three-game series at Atlanta on Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Left-hander Adam Conley, who is 4-3 with a 5.11 ERA, seeks his third win for Miami. Atlanta will go with veteran R.A. Dickey.