Marlins cap off road trip with tough loss to Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
WASHINGTON (AP) — Marlins manager Dan Jennings said he may have let rookie left-hander Justin Nicolino face one too many batters in Sunday’s start.
Against Stephen Strasburg, it probably didn’t matter.
Strasburg struck out 10 in an encore to one of the best starts of his career, Tyler Moore broke the game open with a three-run homer off Nicolino in the sixth and Miami 13-3 to the Washington Nationals.
"In hindsight, I guess I should have gone and get him," Jennings said. "I just wanted to give him the opportunity to battle through that."
Marcell Ozuna homered, doubled and drove in two runs for the Marlins, who lost the final three games of the four-game set to end the season series 9-10 against the Nationals.
Nicolino (3-4) departed after facing Moore. In his 10th career start, he allowed seven runs in 5 2-3 innings and saw his ERA spike more than two-thirds of a run to 4.50.
Relievers Scott McGough and Jose Urena each allowed three runs. The Marlins allowed more than 12 runs for the first time this season in their worst defeat since a 12-1 loss to the New York Mets on Aug. 3.
"It’s been a while since we’ve had one of these," Jennings said. "Baseball is like that. We had some mistakes today and they made us pay."
For Washington, Yunel Escobar had four hits and four RBIs, and Bryce Harper had three hits, including a double, and scored three times.
The Nationals moved within 6 1-2 games of the NL East-leading Mets, who play the Yankees later Sunday.
Strasburg tied a career high with 14 strikeouts in his last start and has 37 strikeouts over his last three outings, a Nationals record since the club relocated to Washington. He allowed six hits and walked only one while lowering his ERA to 1.98 over his last 11 starts.
Nicolino allowed seven hits — including Moore’s blast — while walking two and striking out three. He appeared to settle after a three-run first, and trailed only 3-2 before things unraveled in the sixth following Ozuna’s solo blast in the top of the inning.
Escobar and Harper singled to lead off the inning and Ian Desmond walked to load the bases. Escobar scored on Wilson Ramos’ sac fly, and Moore ripped Nicolino’s next pitch, an 86-mph cutter, into the Marlins bullpen.
Nicolino defended his manager’s decision to leave him in the game.
"That’s when you find out who you are as a pitcher," he said. "That’s when you find out what you have in that situation. After I made the first out, I made a few mistakes and they ended up costing me."
ICHIRO’S STRIKEOUT WOES
Ichiro Suzuki struck out three times for the first time since July 9, 2014, with all three of those coming against Strasburg. He also struck out twice on Saturday, marking the first time he’s struck out multiple times in consecutive games since June 9-10 of 2010.
Marlins: INF Martin Prado (left wrist) did not play for a third straight day.
Nationals: 2B Anthony Rendon was out of the lineup due to illness, manager Matt Williams said on his team’s radio pregame show. … 1B Ryan Zimmerman (left oblique) started on the bench for a 10th straight game.
Marlins: RHP Tom Koehler (10-13, 3.90) takes the hill Tuesday against Philadelphia to begin Miami’s final homestand of the season.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (11-7, 3.83) looks to improve upon his 3.04 ERA at Nationals Park this season against Baltimore RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (11-9, 4.31).