Jarrod Saltalamacchia helps Marlins get heated in big win over Nationals

Home plate umpire Marty Foster, center, separates Washington Nationals' Ian Desmond, left, from Miami Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, right, during the fourth inning.

Lynne Sladky/AP

MIAMI — Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia took offense when Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond began shouting at right-hander Tom Koehler during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s 11-2 victory at Marlins Park.

On a 1-0 pitch, Koehler missed high and inside on a fastball with a runner on second.

The Marlins led 6-0 at the time, an improbable feat considering they had lost eight in a row overall and four straight to the Nationals (8-6).

"We’re teammates. That’s what it comes down to. I’m going to protect our guys. Regardless if it is the pitcher, the first baseman, (Giancarlo) Stanton, or anybody," Saltalamacchia said. "We’re here for each other. We’re family. We’re going to protect each other. If you see somebody yelling or saying something towards your pitcher, you’re going to step in the way."

Perhaps that lights a fire under the reeling Marlins.

Miami (6-9) rediscovered its winning formula of good pitching, solid fielding and timely hitting that had been missing since the first week of the season, when it began 5-2.

Koehler pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit — a leadoff single to Anthony Rendon in the first. He threw 112 pitches, one shy of his career high, with three strikeouts and five walks.

Entering Tuesday, Miami posted a 6.12 team ERA during the eight-game stretch over 67 2/3 innings. Starters ranked 25th of 30 teams with a 4.80 ERA and 4-6 record.

"Enough has been enough for awhile," Koehler said. "We pitched well and we hit well. You do that, and you are going to win games."

Defensively, birthday boy Adeiny Hechavarria turned a double-play groundout to avoid damage in the first. Marcell Ozuna tracked down a fly ball deep to center in the second. Despite a muffed double-play attempt, Derek Dietrich still got an out in the fourth and made a highlight-reel play later on.

Most importantly, however, was the turnaround at the plate.

Marlins vs. Nationals

Every starter except Koehler collected a hit, including four with multiple hits.

Players got on base for Giancarlo Stanton, who did what he does best: hit the ball hard and far. He matched a career high with five RBI.

Stanton blasted a 2-1 offering from righty Stephen Strasburg 457 feet to straightaway center in the first for a three-run home run.

It goes as the longest home run off Strasburg in his career. Stanton has three of the four longest dingers in the big leagues this season.

"The biggest thing is that pitch from Stanton," Strasburg said. "I’ve got to do a better job of executing that pitch. I can live with a couple runs here or there in the first, but that put me behind the eight ball."

A night after going 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position — plummeting their once sterling .333 average to a season-low .148 — the Marlins went 5 for 10 in those pivotal moments.

With an opportunity to tack on insurance runs, Miami did just that. That’s something the club couldn’t do last Wednesday when it led Washington 5-0 by teeing off on righty Jordan Zimmermann. It went on to lose that game.

Casey McGehee, who drove in 10 runs over the first week of the season but just one the following seven days, produced a two-out, two-run single to left in the second. That extended the lead to 6-0.

Garrett Jones drove in a run with a two-out single off righty Craig Stammen to cap Miami’s scoring in the fifth.

"I talked yesterday about having guys step up and I think we saw that tonight You saw an entire team step up," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Tommy Koehler set the tone, did a great job. You have a tough lineup to plow through and I think he did a great job. It was great to see our offense strike early. You could feel the energy I think. Guys just kind of fed off that throughout the lineup. We were able to put a couple big numbers on the board and give us a little bit of breathing room. It was nice. It was a long eight games there."

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.