After watching their winning streak come to an end, the Washington Nationals will try to bounce back against the NL's worst team.
The Nationals look to continue their recent home success against the Miami Marlins in the opener of a three-game set Tuesday night.
Washington (65-65) had averaged 7.6 runs during a season high-tying five-game winning streak before falling 6-4 at Kansas City on Sunday. Denard Span went deep and had four of the team's 14 hits, but the Nationals went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
"It hurts, but we're not going to win the rest of our games," said pitcher Dan Haren , whose team is hitting .314 in its last six. "We're going to lose a few. Offensively, we're swinging the bats really well. It's a good time for an off day (Monday). We'll take a day to regroup and then get after the Marlins."
The Nationals have taken six of nine from the Marlins this year, including all three home matchups by an 11-1 margin. Washington has compiled a 10-3 home record versus Miami dating to September 2011.
The Marlins (49-80) hit the road after concluding a 3-7 homestand with Sunday's 4-3 loss to Colorado, their fifth defeat in six games. Justin Ruggiano stayed hot with his 15th homer, but Miami committed two errors and went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
"We're not a team that's equipped to make a lot of mistakes, and when we do make mistakes they usually come back to haunt us and you saw that again today," manager Mike Redmond said.
The Marlins now give the ball to Nathan Eovaldi (2-4, 3.82 ERA). The right-hander has gone 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA over a seven-start stretch since yielding three runs and three hits in six innings to beat Washington 8-3 on July 12, his only matchup in the series.
After giving up career highs of 11 runs and 12 hits in three-plus innings in a 14-10 loss to San Francisco on Aug. 16, Eovaldi allowed three runs in seven innings in a 4-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
"He looked really sharp, and he threw some great fastballs, well-located," Redmond told MLB's official website.
The Nationals will turn to Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 2.58) for his fourth start of the year. In his first outing since returning from the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation, Ohlendorf surrendered four runs in 4 1-3 innings in Wednesday's 11-6 road win over the Chicago Cubs .
"I was just glad to get back out there," he said. "I felt good. I wish I'd pitched deeper in the game for us, but our offense did an awesome job. ... I was really happy with my fastball."
The right-hander has a 7.29 ERA in losing his last four starts to the Marlins, but threw four scoreless innings of relief opposite Eovaldi last month.
Ohlendorf will need to be careful against Ruggiano, who is 10 for his last 19 with three homers and eight RBIs in his last seven contests.
Washington's Bryce Harper is batting .394 with a homer and six RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak. Span has hit safely in nine straight, going 16 for 40 (.400).
Harper is batting .323 with six homers, nine RBIs and 14 runs in his last 15 games versus Miami.
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 26, 2013||Kevin Slowey||15-Day DL||Right forearm discomfort|
|July 23, 2013||Marcell Ozuna||60-Day DL||Torn left thumb ligament|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||60-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 09, 2013||Chris Coghlan||15-Day DL||Right calf irritation|
|August 22, 2013||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|August 17, 2013||Taylor Jordan||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|August 13, 2013||Wilson Ramos||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|August 11, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Right knee|
|August 01, 2013||Ross Ohlendorf||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 01, 2013||Ross Ohlendorf||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Nationals are trying to stay in the playoff race. Pitching performances like this one will surely help.
Ross Ohlendorf pitched neatly into the sixth inning, Ian Desmond had three hits and the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 on Tuesday night.
"Nothing like a little laugher," Nationals manager Davey Johnson cracked.
Washington kicked off a six-game homestand with its sixth victory in the last seven games. The Nationals began the day eight games behind Cincinnati for the second NL wild-card spot.
Ohlendorf (3-0) pitched five innings of two-hit ball before Christian Yelich led off the sixth with his second homer, ending the starter's outing. It was Ohlendorf's second start since he was sidelined by right shoulder inflammation.
"He's done that now several times," Johnson said when asked if Ohlendorf hit a wall in the sixth, when his velocity was noticeably lower. "I was kind of ready for it with (Tanner) Roark. He just kind of ran out gas like he did the game before."
Roark, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard each pitched a hitless inning before Rafael Soriano finished the four-hitter for his 34th save.
Roark pitched out of trouble in the sixth after walking Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison with one out. Clippard handled the top of Miami's order in the eighth, including three straight swinging strikes against the dangerous Stanton.
"I just wanted to get ahead of him and once I threw strike one I wanted to go after him because he was going to be aggressive," Clippard said. "That's what I did, and he chased a couple of fastballs and I got him."
Yelich finished with two hits for Miami, which has lost six of seven. Nathan Eovaldi (2-5) allowed two runs - both in the first - and eight hits in six innings.
"I thought Eovaldi looked good, he pitched a good game, he gave us a chance to win," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
"The bullpen did a nice job and really had it laid out perfectly. Just didn't score the runs. Four hits, we've kind of seen this story before a few times this year."
The Washington victory came in the opener of a stretch of 19 consecutive games against the Marlins, Mets and Phillies, all NL East teams below .500.
"Now's the time," Johnson said before the game. "I still think we need to win close to 90 games (to make the playoffs). So every game we need to play well, we need to pitch well."
Ohlendorf and the bullpen took care of the pitching, and the lineup did just enough damage in the first.
Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper had consecutive one-out singles, putting runners on the corners. Zimmerman scored on Jayson Werth 's groundout and Desmond singled in Harper to make it 2-0.
"Just ran into some trouble in that first inning," said Eovaldi, who is 0-5 with a 4.30 ERA in his last eight starts. "And if I can just avoid that one inning here and there, I feel like I'd be a lot better off."
Washington totaled seven baserunners after the first, but couldn't add to its run total. All nine Nationals hits were singles.
Ohlendorf retired his first nine batters before Yelich singled to start the fourth. Stanton then doubled with one out and Logan Morrison was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Ohlendorf then fanned Ed Lucas and got Justin Ruggiano to ground into a fielder's choice, ending the threat.
"He was great. He made pitches. He threw some good breaking balls," Johnson said.
NOTES: Denard Span and Harper extended their hitting streaks to 10 and nine games, respectively. ... The Nationals recalled RHP Ryan Mattheus from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned LHP Xavier Cedeno to their top farm club. ... Redmond said RHP Jose Fernandez has two or three starts remaining before the club shuts the 21-year-old down. Fernandez has thrown 152 2-3 innings and could approach his team-imposed 170-inning limit during his next two starts. ... Johnson said an X-ray of LF Harper's left foot was negative after he fouled a ball off his leg on Sunday. ... Johnson said "probably not" when asked if LHP Ross Detwiler , on the DL since early July with a back strain, will return before the end of the season. Detwiler has begun playing catch, but hasn't thrown off the mound. ... The Marlins reinstated INF Placido Polanco from the 7-day concussion DL. ... Miami RHP Henderson Alvarez (2-3, 3.86 ERA) opposes Stephen Strasburg (6-9, 3.00 ERA) in Wednesday's game.