MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The Washington Nationals avoided being swept at the hands of the red-hot Miami Marlins on Wednesday with a 4-3 victory at Marlins Park.
Tanner Roark continued his stretch of strong pitching, winning his fourth consecutive start and putting the Nationals back in first place in the NL East.
For the fourth start in a row, Roark (11-6) allowed one run in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.74.
Drew Storen allowed two runs in the ninth before retiring Reed Johnson on a forceout with two on for the final out to earn his first save since August 2013. Manager Matt Williams didn’t call on closer Rafael Soriano, who hasn’t pitched since he blew a three-run ninth-inning lead in Washington’s loss Monday.
Jayson Werth, back in the lineup after missing one start because of a sore right ankle, put the Nationals ahead to stay with a sacrifice fly in their three-run eighth. Denard Span stole two bases and scored twice.
Brad Hand (2-3) allowed three runs in seven-plus innings. NL RBI leader Giancarlo Stanton hit his 24th home run and Jordany Valdespin hit his second for the Marlins, who had won nine of their past 10.
Nationals pinch-hitters came into the game batting .153, but with the score 1-all, Scott Hairston doubled against Hand when he batted for Roark to start the eighth. Span’s bunt single put runners at first and third, and Werth hit a sacrifice fly.
Ian Desmond added a two-out, two-run double off A.J. Ramos.
Roark struck out seven, walked two and allowed three hits. He has given up four walks and 16 hits in his past four starts.
The Nationals’ starters have an ERA of 1.29 over the past six games. The NL East-leaders finished their three-city trip 5-4.
Miami had Span picked off in the first inning, but he beat first baseman Garrett Jones’ throw to second for a stolen base, then scored on Anthony Rendon’s double.
The Marlins were hitless until Valdespin homered into the upper deck in right field in the fourth. In the ninth, Stanton homered and Adeiny Hechavarria hit an RBI double.
The Nationals begin an eight-game homestand with a four-game series against Philadelphia on Thursday, when Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to start against Cliff Lee.
Miami opens a four-game home series Thursday when Tom Koehler pitches against Johnny Cueto. Koehler is 4-3 with a 2.75 ERA at home this year, and 3-4 with a 4.96 ERA on the road.
Before the game, Marlins infielder Ed Lucas was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. He had been sent down July 20.
“I must be a pretty bad teammate if as soon as I’m gone they rattle off nine out of 10,” Lucas said with a chuckle. “It kind of makes you question yourself a little bit.”
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