Marlins fall to Nationals 4-3, have lost 7 of 8
Giancarlo Stanton batted cleanup for the first time this season. He hit a home run and rattled Nationals Park with a foul ball that might still be rolling among the city's tourist attractions had it not clanged loudly off the facade of the middle deck in foul territory.
But the homer was a solo shot, and the mighty foul ball was followed by a swing-and-miss for strike three, part of a seventh inning in which the Miami Marlins had runners on first and second with none out and failed to score in a tie game.
New lineup. Familiar result. The Marlins went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and lost 4-3 Wednesday night to the Washington Nationals.
''We haven't been able to score runs all year,'' Stanton said. ''No different.''
The Nationals broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the seventh off Mike Dunn (3-4). Denard Span walked to lead off, then advanced to second when Dunn bounced a pickoff attempt for a throwing error. Werth was intentionally walked with two outs, and Desmond scored Span with a single to left.
''I gave up one hit, but it comes down to the leadoff walk,'' Dunn said. ''They're big, and that's the big frustrating thing because one of my goals for the second half is to limit the walks.''
The Marlins have lost seven of eight, a skid that manager Mike Redmond tried to halt by switching around his lineup. He batted rookie Christian Yelich third for the first time, moving Stanton and Logan Morrison down one notch each to fourth and fifth.
Stanton hit his homer in the sixth - the inning before his big at-bat against Storen - Yelich drew a pair of walks, and Morrision had a single, but the Marlins couldn't string together their hits, leaving Redmond uncertain as to whether to stick with the lineup for another day.
''I liked the fact that it looked like we kind of swung the bats a little better as far as the hits,'' Redmond said. ''I don't know. I'll have to sleep on it. We'll see what I can come up with tomorrow.''
A 72-minute rain delay ended the night early for starting pitchers Henderson Alvarez and Stephen Strasburg. Storen (4-2) picked up the win as the fourth of six Nationals pitchers, getting a pair of popouts to work out of the seventh-inning jam after he struck out Stanton with a slider.
''He hit that ball off the Capitol,'' Storen said. ''So it's one of those things that he was obviously looking for a heater there, so you just kind of go up and throw a good pitch to him, and it worked out all right.''
It was a dog days game for both teams - at least it felt that way when counting up all the little mistakes.
Washington's Anthony Rendon made a baserunning gaffe on a ground ball and was thrown out at third, and Bryce Harper bobbled a base hit for an error that allowed the batter to get to second. Miami's Morrison got caught in a rundown between third and home, Dunn had his throwing error, and the Marlins couldn't do anything after getting two on with none out against Storen.
''You get in those situations. It usually comes down to a great defensive play or a big hit,'' Redmond said. ''And we've been on the other end of both most of the year.''
Notes: How inept are the Marlins at the plate? They've drawn 31 walks in their last nine games - and none of those 31 runners have scored. ... Washington is 5-0 vs. Miami at home this season.
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