Marlins 8, Nationals 2

The gaudy sculpture in left field swung into motion and lit up

like a carnival ride as Miami Marlins fans cheered the rare

spectacle.

Home run, home team.

Adeiny Hechavarria ended a pair of home run droughts with a

three-run shot that helped Miami beat the Washington Nationals 8-2

Tuesday night.

”I was beginning to think that the home run sculpture out there

wasn’t plugged in,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. ”I’m glad

that it’s working.”

The offensively challenged Marlins (3-11) began the game with

the worst record in the majors, but broke out of a batting slump in

the fourth inning with four runs, more than they had scored in all

but one game.

Hechavarria’s homer was the Marlins’ first at home this season,

and it ended a nine-game home run drought that had tied the

20-year-old franchise record.

”When I hit the ball, I knew it was out of the ballpark,”

Hechavarria said. ”It was a great feeling.”

A throwing error by Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman – his

fourth in five games – preceded the homer and led to four unearned

runs.

Miami’s Justin Ruggiano had two hits and three RBIs, Greg Dobbs

contributed a bases-loaded walk and a run-scoring single, and Juan

Pierre totaled three hits and hiked his average to .222.

Redmond said the homer provided the kick-start the Marlins

needed.

”We’ve been waiting for a big hit for a while,” he said. ”We

knew it was going to come. We didn’t know who it was going to come

from.

”It was big for everybody. I think for everybody, it was like,

`All right, here we go’ – a nice sigh and a little bit of

relief.”

Alex Sanabia (2-1) allowed two runs in six innings, and two

relievers completed an eight-hitter.

The Nationals had been 4-0 against the Marlins this season,

outscoring them 21-4.

”Nice to beat those guys,” Redmond said. ”They’ve kind of had

their way with us so far this year. Nice to put a big number on

them.”

Dan Haren (1-2) gave up seven runs, three earned, in 4 1-3

innings. He retired nine in a row before Zimmerman’s error.

”Up to that point I was rolling, but I have to pick the guy

up,” Haren said. ”That’s part of baseball. They pick me up, I

pick them up. I’m sure he feels bad about the home run, but I have

to be able to pick him up.”

As a tribute to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, the

crowd of 16,200 sang along to ”Sweet Caroline” before the bottom

of the eighth inning. The song has been featured at Red Sox home

games since 2002.

Both teams were short-handed, and the Nationals played without

three regulars. Bryce Harper and Denard Span sat out with flu-like

symptoms, and second baseman Danny Espinosa remained sidelined by a

bruised right hand.

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton sat out for the fifth

consecutive game because of a bruised left shoulder. He took

batting practice and said he felt better, and might rejoin the

lineup Wednesday.

Redmond tweaked the Miami lineup, and Chris Coghlan batted

leadoff for the first time since 2011, with Pierre dropped to

second in the order. The Marlins responded with a season-high run

total and 11 hits.

The Marlins had help. The game was scoreless in the fourth when

Placido Polanco reached with one out on the latest wild throw by

Zimmerman, who underwent right shoulder surgery last offseason.

”The shoulder feels great,” Zimmerman said. ”That’s why it’s

so frustrating. It’s just a matter of me sticking with it and not

mentally getting frustrated.”

Following the error, singles by Dobbs and Ruggiano scored the

first run. Hechavarria, who turned 24 Tuesday, hit a two-out

homer.

”I would prefer it happened Monday,” he said with a smile,

”but I’ll take it.”

The rookie shortstop finished 1 for 4, hiking his average to

.184. The homer was his first and the team’s third.

Washington scored twice in the sixth on doubles by Adam LaRoche,

Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi.

NOTES: After the game, the Marlins optioned C Kyle Skipworth to

Triple-A New Orleans. 1B Joe Mahoney will be reinstated from the

disabled list Wednesday. … Marlins reserve OF Austin Kearns

received clearance to play after missing two games and undergoing

tests for an irregular heartbeat. He struck out pinch-hitting in

the sixth. … The Marlins still have no saves. … The Nationals’

Roger Bernadina reached second base in the fifth inning when

Sanabia fielded his tapper and threw wildly, but Bernadina was

ruled out for running inside the first-base line.