WASHINGTON -- Adam Lind's pinch-hit RBI go-ahead single in the eighth inning propelled the Nationals to a 3-2 win over the Marlins in Monday night's series opener at Nationals Park.The key knock broke a 2-2 tie, and was set up by a leadoff single from Wilmer Difo, who was moved
WASHINGTON -- Adam Lind's pinch-hit RBI go-ahead single in the eighth inning propelled the Nationals to a 3-2 win over the Marlins in Monday night's series opener at Nationals Park.
The key knock broke a 2-2 tie, and was set up by a leadoff single from Wilmer Difo, who was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout.
"Fortunately, [Marlins reliever Jarlin Garcia] gave me something over the plate," Lind said. "In today's game, it's not really how hard you hit it, but where you hit it, and no one was there."
Washington held a 2-0 edge after a Matt Wieters RBI single in the second inning and a Bryce Harper solo homer in the fourth -- the 150th home run of his career.
Miami tied the game with milestone runs in the fifth and sixth innings. The first came from reliever Odrisamer Despaigne, and marked the first RBI of his career. Giancarlo Stanton swatted a solo homer for the game-tying run, marking his MLB-leading 37th and tying a career high.
After the Nats reclaimed the lead on Lind's knock, Nats closer Sean Doolittle sealed the victory with a scoreless ninth.
Washington kept the potent Marlins offense in check thanks to ace Max Scherzer. After leaving his previous outing early with a neck injury, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner returned to deliver a quality start. Scherzer allowed two earned runs on five hits over seven innings, racking up nine strikeouts and walking two on 114 pitches.
"It was great," Scherzer said. "Today was a great start. When you're in a tight ballgame, this was just a competitive game. Divisional game, they know you. This was such a great team win. A number of guys stepped up and had a fingerprint on this game. Offense, ran into some good pitching, they found some timely hitting and Lind came through with a huge hit to put us up 3-2, and the bullpen came in and shut the door. Man, I love those starts."
The Marlins, meanwhile, had to rely on their bullpen after starter Chris O'Grady left the game with one out in the second inning with a right oblique strain. In his place, four relievers -- led by Despaigne -- pitched the rest of the way.
"[Despaigne] did a great job," said O'Grady, who cramped up in the second inning and will see a doctor Tuesday. "He did more than you can ask of a pitcher. He also got an RBI, which was awesome. He did a great job coming in on short notice, especially. He probably had to go out and warm up on the mound, which nobody likes to do."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Harper notches No. 150: Harper turned on the first pitch he saw from Despaigne and crushed a 415-foot no-doubter to right field to give the Nats a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. Per Statcast™, the ball left his bat at 105 mph, and climbed 119 feet. The long ball marked the 150th of Harper's career, making him one of the few to accomplish the feat before his 25th birthday.
"Supreme talent," Lind said. "It's been a blessing to watch him. I feel like I've played over the past four or five years with some of the best in the game. As far as talent and his age, he's by far the best."
Stanton's rocket: Stanton knocked Scherzer's fastball beyond the center-field wall in the sixth to knot the contest at 2 andtie his career high of 37 home runs. Stanton is hitting .326 (15-for-46) with seven home runs and 15 RBIs over his past 13 games, and this was just the second homer he's hit against Washington this season. Stanton has the most home runs in the Majors, two more than the runner-up Yankees rookie slugger Aaron Judge.
"If [Stanton]'s on the field and he stays on the field, he's going to hit 40 to 50 every year," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "That's just what's going to happen if he stays on the field. Any time he's been cut short has been really because of some little, weird injury."
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Harper, a five-time All-Star, hit his 150th career home run at the exact same age Angels outfielder Michael Trout was when he reached the milestone last season.
Marlins:Vance Worley will look for another strong start vs. the Nationals at Nationals Park on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET after throwing seven scoreless innings against them Wednesday. The right-hander, who faced the minimum through seven frames in that outing, is vying for a starting spot after shifting between the rotation and the bullpen this season.
Nationals: Washington will tab A.J. Cole for the start in the second game of the four-game series against the Marlins. The 25-year-old right-hander will look to rebound from his last start, when he allowed five runs in five innings vs. Miami.
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Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington who covered the Marlins on Monday.
Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington who covered the Nationals on Monday.