WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — Miami manager Dan Jennings said he has relied heavily on his bullpen the past few weeks.READ MORE: Tracking The Tropics: Tropical Storm Peter Passing Near The Eastern Caribbean
They certainly came through Friday as four relievers combined to pitch four scoreless innings while allowing two hits and Martin Prado had two hits, including a two-run homer, as the Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 4-3 to put a dent in the postseason hopes of the defending division champions.
“We are fighting. We have a lot of talent there,” Washington catcher Wilson Ramos said. “Everyone is fighting. Tomorrow is another day.”
The Nationals (64-63) began the night 6 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Mets in the National League East. Washington has lost nine of its last 11 games decided by one or two runs and the Marlins (52-77) won just their 22nd road game of the season.
Washington trimmed the Miami lead to 4-3 in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman against Kyle Barraclough. But the reliever escaped further damage when he deflected a shot by Ramos for a 1-4-3 groundout to end the threat with the bases loaded.
“To bring that kid in that situation and allow just a sacrifice fly was huge,” Jennings said. “That was big for him to be able to do that. He has no fear. We have put this kid in some tough spots and he has handled it well.”
Ramos said of the groundout: “Bad luck tonight. I hit the ball really well.”
The losing pitcher was Washington starter Max Scherzer (11-11), who allowed four runs, including two homers, in seven innings with eight strikeouts. He has yielded 17 runs in his last four starts and has not won at home since a June 20 no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I threw the ball well. It is frustrating to give up four runs,” Scherzer said. “I just need to execute. I tip by cap to Prado. I am not kicking chairs (in frustration). My stuff is there.”
Ramos said of Scherzer, “He threw pretty well. Just a couple of pitches up in the zone. I don’t see nothing different. He is doing his best.”
Miami’s Adam Conley (2-1), in his fifth career start, allowed six hits and three runs in five innings plus three batters. A.J. Ramos posted his 23rd save with a scoreless ninth, getting pinch-hitter Clint Robinson on a fly to right for the final out with shortstop Ian Desmond on second base.
“The bullpen stepped up in a big way. There were helped some defensively,” Jennings said.READ MORE: One Dead, One Injured After Being Shot Near FTX Arena
The Nationals have not won a one-run game since Aug. 4, with four such losses in a row, and are 10-16 this month while the Mets have been red hot.
Marlins left fielder Derek Dietrich had an RBI double in the first inning against Scherzer to make it 1-0. His two-out hit scored Prado, who had singled, and gave Dietrich his 14th RBI of the month.
Desmond, who had two hits, tied the score at 1 with a homer in the second — his ninth home run since the All-Star break.
But the Marlins answered in the third as Prado hit a two-run homer to make it 3-1.
“That was huge. It gave us some breathing room,” Jennings said.
Then center fielder Marcell Ozuna (two hits) led off the fourth with a homer against Scherzer, whose last start was Aug. 20 at Colorado, to expand the margin to 4-1.
Wilson Ramos homered in the fifth to cut the margin to 4-2 against Conley.
Conley, 25, in his 10th big league game, made his fifth start of the year. It was the fourth game in a row that a lefty started for the Marlins, the first time that had happened in franchise history.
Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (.334) and Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon (.333) began the day ranked first and second in the league in hitting. Harper singled just over the glove of Gordon in the first.
Harper was making his second start of the year in center after regular center fielder Denard Span went on the disabled list. Rookie Michael A. Taylor, who has also played center this year, did not play after suffering a leg contusion while running into the wall Thursday during a game against the San Diego Padres.
NOTES: Marlins 1B Justin Bour, hitless in three at-bats, played college baseball at George Mason, about 30 miles from Nationals Park. He started Friday and entered the game hitting .253 with 12 homers with a lifetime average of .359 and two homers against his hometown Nationals. … The Nationals put CF Denard Span on the 15-day disabled list with left hip inflammation and brought up OF Matt den Dekker from Triple-A Syracuse. Span had just come off the DL on Tuesday after missing 40 games with back problems. Span will have surgery this coming Tuesday and is done for the season, manager Matt Williams said Friday. Span hit .301 while playing in just 61 games. A former Met, den Dekker has played in 27 games this year with Washington and hit .200. … Washington RHP Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.54 ERA) will face Marlins RHP Tom Kohler (8-12, 3.98) in the second game of the series Saturday. … Washington INF Trea Turner, a first-round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2014 out of North Carolina State, was in the starting lineup at second for his first big league start. He played mostly shortstop in the minors this season after coming to Washington in June as a player to be named in a deal with the San Diego Padres from December. He was hitless in three at-bats.MORE NEWS: Bronze Bust Unveiled At Burt Reynolds' Hollywood Gravesite
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