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Marlins' 9-run lead dissolves in loss to Nats

Miami cut deficit to 2 in eighth; ninth-inning rally ends with go-ahead run at plate
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

WASHINGTON -- Almost 10 years to the day, the Marlins experienced a similar sinking feeling of watching a large lead slip away.

What started out as an exhilarating nine-run lead, backed by Martin Prado's three-run homer and Justin Bour's two-run shot, turned into a devastating 14-12 loss to the Nationals on Thursday at Nationals Park.

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WASHINGTON -- Almost 10 years to the day, the Marlins experienced a similar sinking feeling of watching a large lead slip away.

What started out as an exhilarating nine-run lead, backed by Martin Prado's three-run homer and Justin Bour's two-run shot, turned into a devastating 14-12 loss to the Nationals on Thursday at Nationals Park.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: MIA@WSH: Prado clubs 1st homer of 2018 off the pole

Trea Turner, who had two home runs, capped the big comeback with a two-out grand slam off Adam Conley in a five-run sixth inning. Turner finished with eight RBIs, including a two-run single in the seventh.

"You don't ever turn it off," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said, of applying pressure on another club. "You never have a game in hand until you've got it over with. The momentum got turned on us there, and we weren't able to stop it. Then, we didn't help ourselves."

The Marlins pitchers put themselves in a bind by walking eight. But even after the Nationals rolled off 14 straight runs, the Marlins didn't go quietly. Miami scored three in the eighth, and brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth.

"Obviously, it didn't stop us during the game," Mattingly said. "We put three runs up on the board when [the Nationals went up by five], and had the winning run at the plate in the ninth. The guys kept playing, and we've kept playing all year long."

Video: MIA@WSH: Mattingly, Lopez on 14-12 loss

The only other time the Marlins had as much as a nine-run advantage erased in a loss came on July 4, 2008, at Colorado. The Rockies outslugged the Marlins, 18-17, that day.

Early on, the Marlins rocked Jeremy Hellickson for nine runs (eight earned) in four innings, giving rookie Pablo Lopez, who was making his second big league start, plenty of run support.

"I didn't have my best secondary stuff, and they started putting some pretty good swings on my fastball," Lopez said. "Hitters make adjustments. I didn't make mine."

The Marlins were still in position to close out the sixth with a three-run lead before Turner came to bat. 

"That's the biggest one there, the at-bat to Turner there," Conley said. "I was trying to get a fastball by him. … Command was an issue today. I wasn't able to get the ball where I wanted. Hats off to him."

In a six-run second inning, Prado provided a big blast in his first game back off the disabled list. He had been out since May 26 due to a left hamstring strain. Prado homered off the left-field foul pole, giving Miami a seven-run lead. And in the top of the fourth inning, Bour belted a two-run home run, padding the lead to nine runs.

Video: MIA@WSH: Bour belts a 2-run homer to left-center

But leading off the bottom of the fourth inning, Turner connected on a home run to center, and in the fifth inning, Matt Adams, who had four hits, got things started with a single off Lopez.

Lopez threw 36 pitches in the fifth inning, and allowed four runs. He was replaced by Conley in line for the win, with Miami ahead, 9-5.

Conley was in position to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth after he struck out Wilmer Difo for the second out. But Turner's first career grand slam put the Nationals ahead to stay. Conley walked four in the inning and recorded just two outs.

Video: MIA@WSH: Turner clubs a go-ahead grand slam in 6th

"My command," Conley said. "I wasn't able to put the ball where I wanted. I thought I was throwing the ball pretty good. I was just not able to get the ball down."

After a demoralizing setback, the Marlins will look to regroup with three more games remaining in the series at Nationals Park, a place they haven't won since Aug. 8, 2017. The 12 straight losses to Washington matches the longest such streak against any club in Marlins history. In parts of 1998-99, they dropped 12 straight to the Brewers.

"I knew I had a big lead, but still, I didn't get lazy or anything," Lopez said. "I knew I needed to make pitches. I didn't make the best ones, and they took advantage of it."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Late chances: Runs came in bunches, and even after the Nationals rolled off 14, the Marlins got back in the game. Starlin Castro doubled to lead off the eighth, and Derek Dietrich followed with a walk, prompting a pitching change. Kelvin Herrera faced Brian Anderson, who connected on a three-run homer to center. In the ninth inning, the Marlins threatened off closer Sean Doolittle. Cameron Maybin and Castro each singled, but Doolittle fanned Dietrich to end it. 

Video: MIA@WSH: Anderson belts a 3-run homer in the 8th

"We played 16 innings the other day, get beat up, come back and win the game the next day," Mattingly said. "So, I'm not worried about us bouncing back. We need to learn from that game."

The Marlins lost to the Rays, 9-6, on Tuesday night in 16 innings, and responded on Wednesday afternoon with a 3-0 win over Tampa Bay.

SOUND SMART
J.T. Realmuto had two singles, two RBIs and was hit by a pitch. The Miami catcher has now hit safely in a career-high 12 straight games.

Video: MIA@WSH: Realmuto rips a 2-run base hit in the 2nd

HE SAID IT
"If you force them to put the ball in play, they're going to hit the ball at somebody, at some point." -- Mattingly, on Miami's pitchers walking eight

UP NEXT
Dan Straily comes off a tough loss, when he gave up three runs in seven innings to the Mets. The right-hander starts for the Marlins on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET at the Nationals, who counter with lefty Gio Gonzalez. Straily has faced the Nationals five times in his career, and seeks his first win.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins