Marlins take big lead early, flounder late in series-opening loss to Nationals
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals are far from finished. Not after briefly slipping below .500 this week. And, certainly not after spotting the Miami Marlins the first nine runs on Thursday night.
Trea Turner hit two homers, including his first career grand slam, and drove in eight runs to help Washington rally past Miami 14-12 in a wild slugfest to end a five-game losing streak.
“Not to get ahead of ourselves, put together wins, try to win a series,” first baseman Matt Adams said. “I think that’s what we’re going to focus on from here on out, win two out of three, win three out of four. If that’s the case, then the wins will start stacking on top of each other and we’ll just get rolling the way we’re capable of.”
The Nationals, who dropped 17 of their previous 22, have won 12 consecutive games against Miami dating to last season — their longest winning streak against any team since the franchise moved to Washington in 2005.
It was also the largest comeback victory since the team left Montreal. The Nationals rallied from eight runs down to defeat Atlanta 13-12 on April 28, 2015.
The victory came a day after the Nationals called a players-only meeting Wednesday after Washington was swept by Boston and slipped under .500 for the first time since May 2.
But things didn’t start smoothly.
Miami scored an unearned run in the first, and capped a six-run second on Martin Prado‘s three-run homer off the left-field foul pole. The Marlins made it 9-0 on Justin Bour‘s two-run homer in the fourth off Jeremy Hellickson.
Despite the huge deficit, Washington was far from out of it.
Turner led off the fourth with a solo shot off Marlins starter Pablo Lopez, who surrendered four more runs in the fifth — including two on Juan Soto‘s double. Adam Conley (2-1) then allowed four of the first five hitters he faced to reach in the sixth before Turner smacked a two-out fastball with the bases loaded into Miami’s bullpen to give the Nationals a stunning 10-9 lead. It was Turner’s third career multi-homer game.
“Command was an issue today, so I wasn’t able to get the ball where I wanted,” Conley said. “My hat’s off to him. I thought the ball was coming out pretty good today, so for him to get ahold of it, that’s the way the game goes. If the game were easy, everybody would play it.”
Turner added a two-run single in Washington’s four-run seventh. His eight RBIs tied for the most ever by a leadoff hitter, according to STATS LLC.
“When we were down 7-0, I feel like we still for sure had a shot — 9-0, it hurts a little bit more, but we did it,” Turner said. “I think once we got the first run on the board, it kind of just got the momentum back on our side and we continued to push. I think that’s what we’re capable of.”
Adams had four hits for Washington in his first game since a stint on the disabled list for a broken left index finger.
“Good win, but we still got stuff to do,” manager Dave Martinez said.
Marlins: Prado was activated from the disabled list after missing 37 games with a left hamstring strain. … Miami recalled RHP Ben Meyer from Triple-A New Orleans, placed RHP Tayron Guerrero (left lumbar strain) on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Wednesday and designated OF JB Shuck for assignment. … SS JT Riddle (hip) was scratched from the lineup. … RHP Sandy Alcantara (right axillary infection) is expected to be re-evaluated and begin a throwing progression Monday. … OF Lewis Brinson (right hip) will be re-evaluated Monday.
Nationals: Martinez said the team is optimistic RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) will be ready to return right after the All-Star break. … 1B Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) will start running the bases Friday or Saturday and could begin a rehabilitation assignment as early as Sunday. … Washington recalled RHP Jefry Rodriguez from Triple-A Syracuse and placed RHP Erick Fedde on the 10-day disabled list. Fedde, who is 1-3 with a 5.79 ERA, left his start Wednesday in the second inning with right shoulder inflammation.
WALK IN THE PARK
Five Nationals who walked eventually scored. Another Washington runner scored after reaching base on a forceout of a player who walked.
“We walked eight guys,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “You can’t walk eight guys with that club over there. We let them back in the game.”
Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (3-4, 4.70 ERA) has held NL East batters to a .202 average in five starts this season, though none of those outings have come against Washington.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.77) is winless in his last six starts, but is 10-3 with a 1.85 ERA lifetime against Miami.