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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