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Walks haunt Marlins after Phelps' strong start

Lead surrendered in 7th, 8th innings with free passes coming around to score
Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The Marlins ran off nine wins in 10 games through Saturday. Now, they've lost two straight. Issuing walks in the late innings played a central role in Monday night's 6-4 setback against the Nationals.

Miami surrendered a 2-1 lead in the seventh and a 4-2 lead in the eighth, with walks to Washington batters resulting in runs in both innings.

Full Game Coverage

WASHINGTON -- The Marlins ran off nine wins in 10 games through Saturday. Now, they've lost two straight. Issuing walks in the late innings played a central role in Monday night's 6-4 setback against the Nationals.

Miami surrendered a 2-1 lead in the seventh and a 4-2 lead in the eighth, with walks to Washington batters resulting in runs in both innings.

Full Game Coverage

"It was a tough night, no doubt," manager Mike Redmond said following Miami's first loss in four games against Washington this season. "We coughed up two leads late. You can't go on the road and cough up leads. That'll cost you."

Same with issuing bases on balls, something the Marlins did with one out in the seventh inning and leading off the eighth. Both runners eventually scored, including Ryan Zimmerman on Ian Desmond's game-tying home run off Bryan Morris (3-1) in the eighth.

Video: MIA@WSH: Desmond ties game late with two-run shot

"We had some walks late in the game that came back to haunt us," Redmond said. "That's too bad, because we knew we weren't going to get a lot [of runs]. But we battled and got some timely hits, some great at-bats. But tonight we just couldn't hold them off."

After Desmond's blast to left-center, Morris struck out Danny Espinosa for the second out. The third out came much too late.

Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore singled and moved to third on Denard Span's double. Both scored on Yunel Escobar's fifth hit of the game, a single to right. All that eighth-inning trouble started with a leadoff walk.

Video: MIA@WSH: Escobar's two-run single puts Nationals up

"I put myself in a bind when I walked the first hitter," Morris said. "Made a really bad pitch [to Desmond] and it went over the fence. Then after that, I left other balls up and they found holes as well. Definitely location."

Morris made it clear his issues were not about losing focus after the home run.

"There was not a loss of concentration after the home run," the right-hander said. "I was missing my spots before the home run. They kept putting good swings on me. Bite the bullet on this one and come back tomorrow."

Miami led, 2-1, in the seventh following Justin Bour's solo home run off Jordan Zimmermann, who tossed a no-hitter the last time he faced the Marlins. Singles by pinch-hitter Jeff Baker and Ichiro Suzuki drove in runs in the top of the eighth for a 4-2 lead.

Video: MIA@WSH: Bour's solo homer puts Marlins in front

Starter David Phelps was solid, allowing two runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings. He exited with a 2-1 lead and a runner in first after issuing a walk to pinch-hitter Clint Robinson.

Two hits and three batters later, reliever Mike Dunn surrendered the lead. Jayson Werth's single scored pinch-runner Michael Taylor.

"I'm happy with my line," Phelps said. "I'd like to go back to the walk to the pinch-hitter. It's how it all started right there. If I don't walk that guy, we're not in that situation."

Ben Standig is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins, Bryan Morris, David Phelps