MIAMI -- Protecting a big lead wasn't a problem for the Nationals on Tuesday night, thanks to their three primary All-Star candidates. Bryce Harper had a two-run single, Ryan Zimmerman added three RBIs and Daniel Murphy homered and drove in two in Washington's 12-3 win over Miami at Marlins Park.
A night after watching a six-run lead disappear in an 8-7 setback, the Nats' pitching came through, as Giovany Gonzalez gave them seven strong innings, allowing three runs while striking out eight.
"Exactly what we needed," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "Seven strong innings. He had a little hiccup there with the two-run homer but our offense kept scoring."
The Nationals struck for four runs, all with two outs, in the fifth inning, knocking Edinson Volquez out of the game. Zimmerman had a two-run double in the inning.
Marcell Ozuna blasted a two-run homer for the Marlins in the fifth inning, bolstering his All-Star credentials as he now has 19 homers and 52 RBIs. Ozuna also scored Miami's first run, racing through third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez's stop sign in the fourth inning on J.T. Realmuto's double.
Harper's two-out, two-run single in the third inning gave the Nationals the early lead, and it also extended the probable National League All-Star's hitting streak to 13 games, a career high.
"They've got a good lineup," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Their numbers aren't where they're at, and their record is not the way it is because they can't do some things. They put you in a box a number of ways. They can go left [or] right. They've got a good club. Basically, you're trying to keep people off base."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nats deliver two-out damage: After Miami scored in the fourth to narrow the Nationals' lead to 2-1, Washington broke things open in the fifth, scoring four runs, all with two outs. Michael Taylor doubled to lead off the inning, but Volquez recovered to get two straight outs. The right-hander, however, wasn't able to last the rest of the inning. Five straight Nationals reached with two outs. Brian Goodwin had an RBI single, and after Harper was intentionally walked, Zimmerman laced a two-run double. Murphy was also intentionally walked, and Stephen Drew's RBI single ended the night for Volquez.
"That last inning, they were all over me," Volquez said. "All my pitches were around the zone and they put good swings on them."
"You've gotta play the odds," Baker said of the intentional walks. "And the odds don't always work, but they worked in our favor tonight."
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Light-tower power: The Marlins were within three runs when Murphy lifted a towering solo home run to right field off Nick Wittgren to open the eighth inning. According to Statcast™, the home run traveled a projected 356 feet with an exit velocity of 104 mph. What was truly impressive was the 42-degree launch angle, which caused the ball to be as high as 144 feet before clearing the wall. The 42 degrees is Murphy's highest on a home run since Statcast™ was instituted in 2015.
"It's not something you want to have happen on a regular basis. He came to me right away and apologized. It's not something he's doing on purpose." -- Mattingly, on Ozuna running through the stop sign on his way to scoring a run
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
June has been a month of highs and lows for Volquez. The Miami veteran no-hit the D-backs on June 3, and followed that with seven shutout innings in a win at Pittsburgh. In his last two starts, however, he has given up 10 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. In his first two starts in June, he allowed no runs on three hits with 18 strikeouts in 16 innings.
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Nationals:Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.26) looks to extend his career-best five straight starts of 10 or more strikeouts to conclude the three-game set with the Marlins on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. He's recorded 10 or more strikeouts in two of his 10 career starts vs. Miami.
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Marlins: The three-game series wraps up with a 12:10 p.m. ET matinee on Wednesday at Marlins Park. Dan Straily (5-4, 3.58) gets the nod for Miami. Straily's first start of the season was a loss at Washington.
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