Nats get final word, walk off in 10th vs. Miami
WASHINGTON -- Trying to stay alive in the race for the National League East, the Nationals walked off on Jose Lobaton's sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, edging the Marlins, 5-4, at Nationals Park on Friday night and snapping Miami's three-game winning streak. The Nats remain eight games behind the first-place Mets, who defeated the Yankees, 5-1, at Citi Field.
"It's something that you really want to do every time you get in that situation, and it happened today," Lobaton said. "I'm really excited right now. It happened, I'm part of the team. I got the RBI that won the game."
Jayson Werth doubled to lead off the 10th, and with the bases loaded and one out, Lobaton lofted right-hander Brian Ellington's offering to left fielder Christian Yelich, whose throw home got away and allowed Werth to score the winning run.
Werth, who slid in face first on the play, had a bruise on the top of his forehead.
"I don't even know what happened. I hit my head too hard or something. I have to look at the replay. [Ian Desmond] has the Vine of it on the team chat on super slo-mo," Werth joked. "Timo [Tyler Moore] was yelling, 'Touch the plate, touch the plate.' I thought I did. Who knows what happened?"
Michael Taylor capped a two-run eighth with an RBI single that gave the Nationals a lead before Jonathan Papelbon blew the save on Dee Gordon's tying sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Ace right-handers Max Scherzer and Jose Fernandez didn't figure in the decision, but both pitched well for the Nationals and Marlins, respectively.
Scherzer went seven innings, allowing two runs -- on Yelich's first-inning homer -- and five hits while striking out six and walking three. Fernandez, who made his second start after coming off the disabled list because of a right biceps strain, lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs, striking out eight. He served up a solo home run to Clint Robinson in the second.
"I thought [Fernandez] threw the ball well," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "Very aggressive. Tremendous velo. Attacked the strike zone, so I was pleased. He did everything we hoped he could do and put us in a good situation."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Max passion: After Scherzer allowed a double to Miguel Rojas then struck out Casey McGehee for the second out of the seventh inning, Nationals manager Matt Williams visited Scherzer on the mound but did not call for a reliever. Scherzer vehemently made it clear that he wanted to get Gordon for the final out of the inning, and Williams stuck with his ace, who got Gordon to ground out. More >
Fernandez stingy: Fernandez cruised before finding trouble in the sixth, when he allowed a leadoff single to Bryce Harper and hit Werth with a pitch. Werth and Fernandez exchanged extended stares as Werth walked to first, but they appeared to defuse the situation amicably later in the inning. Fernandez struck out the final two hitters he faced, but he mixed in a pair of wild pitches, allowing Harper to score. His night ended with a no-decision, and his ERA rose to 0.98 in six career starts against Washington.
"We knew somewhere between that 85, 95 [pitch] mark was where he was built up to," Jennings said. "I think he was a little amped up. This was a big matchup, he and Scherzer. But yeah, I think probably fatigue a little there in the sixth." More >
Use all 27: Rojas led off the ninth with his second double, on which Harper's throw from right field sailed way over Desmond at second. Rojas advanced to third on the errant throw, and tied the game two batters later on Gordon's sacrifice fly.
"Tremendous. We're fortunate to have a guy, we get spoiled with [Adeiny Hechavarria], but Rojas is certainly capable of being an everyday shortstop in this league," Jennings said. " He's got magical hands, made some real nice plays late, and then to step up against the closer and have that type of at-bat and get in position to tie the game was huge."
Papelbon stung again: Papelbon, who is recovering from the flu, blew the save for a second straight game, but he wasn't concerned.
"I felt really good. I felt like I threw the ball well. If I could take what I had tonight, I'll take that," said Papelbon. "I'm going into strikeout mode and trying to strike guys out."
"He [said] I was looking at him. I was like, 'You were looking at me, bud.' Kind of kid stuff. It's just part of the game. Whatever, it's not big deal. He's fine. That's all that matters." -- Fernandez, on his sixth-inning staredown with Werth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Harper set a career high with his 140th game of the season.
Marlins: Miami will start lefty Justin Nicolino (3-3, 3.81 ERA) on Saturday in the 4:05 p.m. ET game against the Nationals. It will be the 10th start of Nicolino's career and his first against the NL East rivals.
Nationals: Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.51 ERA) will take the mound Saturday. In his previous start against the Phillies, Zimmermann lasted six innings, allowing six runs on seven hits, including two home runs.
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