WASHINGTON (AP) — After the latest in a month of losses, the best thing Miami Marlins starter Tom Koehler could say about his August is that it’s over.
Koehler allowed five runs over six innings, including three on back-to-back homers by Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond’s back-to-back homers in his final frame as Miami fell 5-1 to the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
“I don’t know if the results are kind of equal to how I’m throwing right now,” Koehler (8-13) said after a seventh straight defeat that pushed his August ERA to 6.95. “The calendar’s going to turn to a new month, which I’m definitely looking forward to.”
Justin Bour blasted his 13th home run in the seventh inning off Jordan Zimmermann (11-8), who otherwise escaped trouble and won his third straight start to even the series.
“I thought we had some good at-bats,” Jennings said of his team’s offensive approach. “Just missed some balls and hit some balls hard that didn’t fall in for us.”
Along with Dee Gordon, Koehler was the only other Marlin to register two hits, and even that note turned sour when he was thrown out at home trying to score on a pitch that got away from catcher Wilson Ramos. At the time, the Marlins trailed 1-0 in the third with Ichiro Suzuki batting.
“I’m slow,” said Koehler, whose last win came on July 23. “I probably shouldn’t have gone.”
Suzuki singled in the top of the fourth, a hit that theoretically could have driven in two runs and changed the complexion of the game.
The way August has gone, though, that may not have been enough for Koehler, who allowed three home runs and nine hits while striking out four and walking none. In his seven consecutive losses, he’s conceded five or more runs four times.
“No one’s feeling bad for me — I’m not going to quit,” said Koehler, whose ERA of 4.12 is the highest it’s been since before his start on May 19. “I’m going to give these guys everything I’ve got every pitch I throw. Eventually something’s got to change.”
Ryan Zimmerman homered in the second and Anthony Rendon singled in a run in the third to make it 2-0 before Robinson and Desmond connected in the sixth.
Robinson sliced a two-run shot on a changeup into the Nationals’ bullpen and Desmond followed with a blast to center on a first-pitch curveball, making it 5-0.
“They’re well aware of what my best breaking ball is,” Koehler said. “Desmond was probably looking for a pitch up, and saw the spin, and he handles breaking balls in the zone really well. And as you can see, he crushed that one.”
JUSTIN, WAY OUT
As impressive as Desmond’s blast was, Bour’s may have been even more so, landing in the second deck just beneath the Nationals Park video board.
“He’s making the most of an opportunity,” Jennings said of the rookie. “He’s always been a hitter, all through the minor leagues. . And it’s good to see him square up some mistakes.”
Marlins: LHP Carter Capps (elbow strain) will throw a bullpen session early next week, Jennings said. … OF Christian Yelich (bruised right knee) missed his third straight game.
Miami LHP Brad Hand (4-3, 4.23 ERA) looks for his first career win against the Nationals in Sunday’s series finale. He’s 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA versus Washington in nine games, including seven starts. Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg is 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA, 32 strikeouts and three walks since returning from the DL on Aug. 8.
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