WASHINGTON DC (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Marlins' struggles inside their division continued this weekend.
Leadoff man Jayson Werth had a homer, double, walk and three RBIs and the Washington Nationals, despite another abbreviated start by Stephen Strasburg, battled back to beat the Marlins 7-4 on Sunday.
The Nationals (66-63) won their fourth series in a row but remained 5 1/2 games back of the first-place New York Mets, who beat Boston 5-4. Miami (52-79) jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a homer by first baseman Justin Bour in the first but the bullpen couldn't hold up after starter Brad Hand (4-4) allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings and fell to 0-6 against the Nationals.
The winning pitcher was former starter Doug Fister (5-7), who came on in the fifth after Strasburg gave up seven hits and four runs in four innings while throwing just 60 pitches.
There was no immediate word on why Strasburg left early, as the Nationals do not give in-game updates of possible injuries. It was the sixth time this season he failed to pitch five innings.
But the offense saved the day as pinch-hitter Clint Robinson smashed a two-run homer in the seventh off reliever Erik Cordier to give the Nationals a 7-4 lead. It was his first career pinch-hit homer and fourth of the year for Washington.
The Nationals had taken a 5-4 advantage with three runs in the fifth. Left fielder Werth had an RBI double and right fielder Bryce Harper and shortstop Ian Desmond, who walked a season-high three times, had RBI singles against Hand.
Marlins left fielder Derek Dietrich (two hits) led off the fourth against Strasburg with a solo homer -- his career-high 10th of the year -- to give his team a 4-2 edge. Werth's two-run homer in the third had pulled Washington to within 3-2.
Bour crushed a three-run homer to right off Strasburg to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead. It was the second homer of the series for Bour, a product of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and fourth of his 137-game career against his hometown club.
Strasburg had allowed just five runs in his previous four starts with 32 strikeouts and three walks in 26 innings. Felipe Rivero, Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a scoreless inning for the Nationals. Papelbon recorded his 22nd straight save this year and fifth with the Nationals as he retired second baseman Dee Gordon on a grouner for the final out with two runners on base.
Center fielder Michael A. Taylor and third baseman Anthony Rendon also had two hits for Washington. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria had three hits for the Marlins, who had won six of the previous 11 games against Washington.
NOTES: Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-7, 4.11 ERA) will start Monday at St. Louis against Cardinals RHP John Lackey (11-8, 2.92 ERA). ... The Marlins begin a series Monday at Atlanta as LHP Chris Narveson (1-1, 7.04 ERA) will start for Miami against RHP Mike Foltynewicz (4-6, 5.71 ERA). ... Washington 1B Ryan Zimmerman entered Sunday with RBIs in six games in a row, and five of his previous six hits were for extra bases, including three homers. ... Marlins 3B Martin Prado reached base in 24 of his last 25 games through Saturday. He entered Sunday hitting .333 against Washington this year, with an average of .364 at Nationals Park.
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