MIAMI (AP) — NL batting leader Bryce Harper struck out three times and stranded five runners, and the fading Washington Nationals lost their fourth straight game, 2-1 to the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
The Nationals out-hit the Marlins 7-5 but went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, and their lone run was unearned.
Washington, swept in a three-game series by the Mets earlier this week, began the night 7 1-2 games behind first-place New York in the NL East.
Mike Dunn (2-5) struck out Harper, the only batter he faced, with two on to end the seventh and keep the score 1-all.
J.T. Realmuto led off the bottom of the seventh with a double off Casey Janssen (1-5) and later scored the tie-breaking run on a sacrifice fly by Miguel Rojas.
Marcell Ozuna's RBI groundout in the fourth gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
Washington made it 1-all in the sixth. A wild pickoff throw by reliever Kyle Barraclough — the Marlins' first error in eight games — allowed Yunel Escobar to advance from first to second, and he later came home on a sacrifice fly by Wilson Ramos.
Jarred Cosart, sidelined much of the season because of vertigo, pitched five shutout innings for Miami before departing for a pinch-hitter. His last pitch might have been his best: He struck out Harper swinging on a nasty breaking ball with two runners on to end the fifth.
Dunn, a left-hander, came on to face Harper with two on and two outs in the seventh, and struck him out swinging on a 95 mph fastball. Harper is 2 for 17 lifetime against Dunn.
A.J. Ramos pitched around a two-out walk in the ninth for his 26th save in 32 chances.
Washington's Gio Gonzalez allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings.
Before the game, the Nationals recalled RHP Taylor Jordan (0-2, 5.29) from Triple-A Syracuse for his fourth stint in the majors this year.
Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (left oblique), sidelined since Monday, again sat out and may miss at least a few more games. "The experience with obliques is that it takes a while," manager Matt Williams said. "We're trying to get him to the point where he can swing a bat." ... 2B Danny Espinosa, who hurt his right wrist fielding a ball Wednesday, also sat out. ... 1B-OF Clint Robinson missed the game to be with his wife, who was about to deliver a baby.
Marlins: RF Giancarlo Stanton (left hand) hit in an inside cage before the game and showed progress, manager Dan Jennings said. ... SS Adeiny Hechavarria (left hamstring) is improving and might be available to play within a week, Jennings said.
Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez, returning from a right biceps strain that has sidelined him since Aug. 7, will try to become only the third pitcher since 1914 to win his first 16 career home decisions. Fernandez (4-0, 2.30) is 15-0 at Marlins Park with an ERA of 1.14. ... RHP Tanner Roark (4-4, 4.41) will start for the Nationals.
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