MIAMI — Ross Detwiler departed with a lead for the third start in a row Wednesday night, and this time the bullpen held on as Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 6-1.
Harper, back in the Nationals’ lineup after missing one game with the flu, hiked his average to .364 with four hits and improved to 8 for 12 against Ricky Nolasco (0-2). Harper hit two solo homers off Nolasco on opening day.
Detwiler (1-0) allowed one run in seven innings, which increased his ERA to 0.90. He left his first two starts with the Nationals ahead 5-1 and 4-1, but both times received no decision.
Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano pitched one perfect inning apiece to close out the seven-hitter.
Kurt Suzuki hit his second home run, tripled and had a sacrifice fly. Adam LaRoche had two hits to improve his average to .195.
The Nationals, who took two of three games from the Marlins, have won only four of 19 series in Miami since the beginning of 2007. This year Washington is 5-1 against the Marlins and has outscored them 29-13.
Nolasco, by far the Marlins’ highest-paid player at $11.5 million, allowed four runs in six innings. The Marlins have scored five runs in his four starts.
Austin Kearns had two hits in his first start for Miami since being hospitalized briefly for an irregular heartbeat. But Miami went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
The Marlins finished a nine-game homestand with the worst record in the majors at 3-12. They’re also last in the majors in runs (32) and homers (three).
Slugger Giancarlo Stanton sat out for the sixth consecutive game because of a bruised left shoulder, but he’s expected to rejoin the lineup Thursday in Cincinnati.
Another bright spot for the Marlins: Announced attendance was 22,302. Despite the team’s dismal start, crowds have been larger than many expected in the wake of offseason moves that angered fans.
The Nationals took the lead in the second, when they scored twice. LaRoche and Ian Desmond singled, Roger Bernadina had an RBI groundout and Suzuki followed with a sacrifice fly.
Suzuki homered on a 3-2 pitch leading off the fifth. Harper doubled and scored on LaRoche’s single in the sixth to make it 4-1.
The Marlins scored a disputed run in the fifth, when Chris Valaika doubled and came home on a two-out single by Donovan Solano. It appeared Suzuki tagged the sliding Valaika just before he touched the plate, and umpire Greg Gibson began to signal out before changing his call to safe. Washington manager Davey Johnson briefly argued.
NOTES: Nationals OF Denard Span missed his second game in a row with the flu but was feeling better. 2B Danny Espinosa remained out with a bruised right hand but is expected to play Friday against the Mets. … Marlins SS Adeiny Hechavarria was scratched from the lineup 90 minutes before the game with a sore right elbow. Valaika, who replaced Hechavarria, has now started at all four infield positions this month. … Miami RHP Wilson Alvarez (shoulder) threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session and may pitch a simulated game next week. … Jayson Werth went hitless and has a career average of .118 (4 for 34) against Nolasco. … The retractable roof was open for the fifth time in nine games.
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