Nats go deep twice to rally past Fernandez, Marlins
Werth, Walters each hit homers; Roark works 6 1/3 solid frames
MIAMI -- Trailing by three runs to Jose Fernandez -- one of baseball's top pitchers -- doesn't typically bode well for opposing teams, particularly when the ace is at home.
A year ago, Washington would probably call the game a wash. During the early stages of this season, however, that isn't the case.
Home runs by Jayson Werth and Zach Walters powered the Nationals to a 6-3 comeback win over the Marlins in front of 20,178 fans Wednesday night at Marlins Park.
"We got good energy in the dugout, we've been upbeat all year," said Werth, whose team recorded its fifth come-from-behind victory through 15 games. "I don't think any point in any game except for maybe last night's game we felt we were out of it. We feel like we can come back. It doesn't matter who's out there. He's got good stuff. You don't want to get down too far. We were able to come back and get some big hits."
Walters blasted a homer off Mike Dunn (0-2) in the eighth inning for the go-ahead run. He sent a 1-0 offering off the scoreboard in left field to start the frame, handing the Nationals a series victory.
It marked Walters' first career pinch-hit dinger and the club's first of the season. Walters recorded his first big league home run on Tuesday.
"I saw it go up and I was hoping it would go fair," Walters said. "The third-base umpire, [I] saw him point fair for a home run and I said, 'Oh, thank god.'"
Ian Desmond produced a two-run single off A.J. Ramos to left later in the eighth to score Nate McLouth and Anthony Rendon, extending the lead to three.
Through six games, Washington has recorded nine homers and 15 eighth-inning runs against the Marlins. The club is outscoring opponents 38-14 from the seventh on.
"It's definitely a contrast from last year," Werth said. "It's good. We've got a lot of fight in us. That's a good sign, especially early on. It's something you can build on as the season goes. You've got that in your pocket. It's really early. We've got a long way to go of course, but I like where we're at."
Right-hander Tanner Roark, who pitched a season-long 6 1/3 innings, made just one mistake in the ballgame -- Derek Dietrich's three-run long ball in the fourth.
Dietrich hit the digital signage in the right-center field upper deck. His third dinger of the season came on a 1-0 pitch following consecutive singles by Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had flied out to left for the first out.
Roark escaped a jam in the fifth as the Marlins were unable to tack on an insurance run. That would come back to haunt them.
Marcell Ozuna doubled with one out and moved to third on Roark's throwing error on a pickoff. Roark struck out Giancarlo Stanton swinging and Jones flied out to shallow left to end the threat.
"It was a big momentum swing," said Roark, who struck out five and walked two. "I felt like we had a good weight off our shoulders and my shoulders as well. It was big to keep Ozuna at third and get out of the inning unscathed."
Werth tied the game with a two-out, three-run homer to right-center off Fernandez in the sixth.
Jose Lobaton led off with a double to right and Roark reached when Saltalamacchia's throw to third on his sacrifice bunt pulled Casey McGehee away from the baserunner. Fernandez bounced back to strike out McLouth after Saltalamacchia dropped a popup in foul territory before Rendon popped out to second.
Werth's third long ball of the year -- all three against Miami -- came on a 96 mph fastball. The play went under review to see whether a fan obstructed it or if the ball hit the railing over the fence. The call was confirmed. All three runs were unearned because of the two errors.
"It was an outside pitch," said Fernandez who struck out a season-high 10 batters over seven innings. "I checked to [Saltalamacchia], and I got beat. It's part of the game. I was trying to keep my team in the game. I had the lead. Obviously, not what I wanted to happen. But we learn from it."
Until that point, Fernandez had cruised through the lineup. His lone blemish had been Danny Espinosa's double with two outs in the second. Tyler Moore stranded him by flying out to left.
Unlike Miami's bullpen, Washington was able to shut the door, retiring all seven batters faced. Drew Storen (1-0) earned the victory by inducing an inning-ending double play in the seventh. Closer Rafael Soriano recorded his third save with a perfect ninth.
After the Braves swept the Nationals to start a two-city road trip, Washington took its second series against Miami (third overall).
"I think these guys are veteran enough to understand regardless of today we have to play tomorrow," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "Good, better, indifferent. It's nice to end the roadtrip on a good note, but what does it really mean? Nothing other than we won this game. That's important, now we have to look forward to tomorrow."