MIAMI (AP) — Brandon Kintzler escaped a bases-loaded jam to end it and the Miami Marlins kept up their playoff push, scratching out a late unearned run off Max Scherzer to beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 Sunday to open a doubleheader.

The Marlins began the day with a half-game lead over Philadelphia for second place in the NL East. The top two teams in each division are assured spots in the expanded postseason field — two extra wild-card clubs will advance, too.

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A two-out error by first baseman Eric Thames in the sixth inning gave Miami the go-ahead run.

“You think you’re out of the inning and then you’re not,” Scherzer said. “That’s just baseball. It happens.”

Washington threatened in the seventh and final inning when Luis Garcia led off with a single and pinch hitter Yadiel Hernandez followed with a ground-rule double off Kintzler.

After Andrew Stevenson flied out to short right, Trea Turner hit a hard smash to Kintzler, who got Garcia out on a rundown that left runners still at second and third. Juan Soto was intentionally walked before Kintzler struck out Kurt Suzuki for his 10th save.

Matt Joyce hit a two-out single off Scherzer (4-4) in the sixth. Pinch runner Monte Harrison stole second, and walks to Miguel Rojas and Jon Berti loaded the bases.

Pinch hitter Starling Marte hit a grounder down the line that third baseman Carter Kieboom fielded, and his low throw bounced off Thames’ glove for an error.

“Really, the frustrating walk there was Berti,” Scherzer said. “That was a big situation where I needed to get that guy out. You don’t want to walk a guy in that situation and make things even worse. But, I was able to find a rhythm with everything.”

Sandy Alcantara (3-2) allowed one run and five hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out four.

“I was competing against Max,” Alcantara said. “He didn’t want a loss. I didn’t want a loss.”

Alcantara enjoyed the matchup in the tight result with Scherzer.

“That was fun,” Alcantara said. “He enjoys what he’s doing and I enjoy what I’m doing.”

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Scherzer (4-4) allowed two unearned runs, walked two and struck out six.

Turner’s two-out RBI infield single with the bases loaded in the fifth tied it at 1. Alcantara escaped from additional harm retiring Juan Soto on a flyout to center.

“I don’t believe in getting tight,” said of his final inning. “We have to keep our heads up and keep working hard.”

The Marlins got a run in the first when Corey Dickerson scored on Garcia’s throwing error from second base.


The Marlins activated Berti from the injured list and designated INF-OF Sean Rodriguez for assignment … LHP Braxton Garrett was added as the 29th man.


Nationals: INF Howie Kendrick (left hamstring strain) has done light running and continues to make progress in his attempt at returning before the end of the season.


Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (2-5, 7.38) will face Philadelphia as Washington begins a season-ending eight-game homestand Monday.

Marlins: LHP Trevor Rogers (1-1, 6.00) will start the opener of a four-game series at Atlanta Monday night.

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