MIAMI (AP) — Three relievers each gave up an extra-base hit in a seventh-inning meltdown Sunday, and the Washington Nationals’ streak of 11 consecutive wins against the Miami Marlins ended with a 5-3 loss that tightened the NL wild-card race.
Hunter Strickland and Wander Suero allowed two runs apiece in the seventh, and Tanner Rainey gave up an RBI triple by Starlin Castro as the Marlins rallied from a 3-1 deficit to take a 5-3 lead.
Washington began the day atop the wild-card race, one game ahead of the Brewers and four in front of the Cubs.
The bullpen collapse came against the Nationals’ favorite foils. Miami averted a three-game sweep and finished 4-15 against Washington this year.
Austin Dean started the Marlins’ comeback by leading off the seventh with his fifth homer against Strickland. Following a hit batsman and a walk, Jon Berti hit a two-run double off Suero to put Miami ahead, and Castro’s hit capped the rally.
Washington starting pitcher Austin Voth drove in a run with a single for his first major league hit and left after five innings with a 3-1 lead. The Nationals have lost his past four starts.
Jeff Brigham, helped when left fielder Harold Ramirez robbed Adam Eaton of a hit, pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save. Starter Pablo Lopez allowed three runs in five innings and remained winless since June 15, before he was sidelined for more than two months by a shoulder injury.
The Nationals started the game with three consecutive singles to take a 1-0 lead, but a nifty 3-6-1 double play helped Lopez escape further damage.
Washington finished 43-38 on the road.
ON FURTHER REVIEW
A call overturned by replay helped the Nationals score a run in the fourth. Victor Robles hit into an apparent inning-ending double play, but the Nationals’ challenge of the forceout at second was upheld. That extended the inning, and Voth hit an RBI single for a 3-1 lead.
Marlins center fielder Magneuris Sierra, who has been staking a claim this month to consideration for a spot in the lineup next year, had a double and a triple and robbed Eaton of an extra-base hit. Sierra hiked his average to .350 in 15 games but left in the eighth with an apparent leg injury.
Nationals infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera, who hurt his right ankle on a play at the plate Saturday, struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.
The announced crowd was 19,702, hiking the season total to 811,302. That’s an increase of 198 over 2018, but the Marlins finished last in the National League in attendance for the 14th time in the past 15 years.
Nationals: They have eight games to go, all at home, and begin a five-game series against the Phillies on Monday with LHP Patrick Corbin (13-7, 3.10) scheduled to start. Washington is 3-0 in Corbin’s starts against Philadelphia this year.
Marlins: They have seven games left, all on the road, and start a four-game series Monday at the Mets with LHP Caleb Smith (9-10, 4.24) scheduled to start.
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