WASHINGTON — Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond each hit a three-run homer, leading Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals to a 9-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.

Werth connected in the sixth and Desmond went deep an inning later, breaking open a close game and powering Washington to its eighth victory in nine games. The Nationals pulled within 6½ games of idle Cincinnati for the second NL wild-card slot.

Gonzalez (8-6) pitched seven innings of three-hit ball in his first victory since July 10 at Philadelphia. The left-hander, who was 0-3 with a 5.94 ERA in his previous seven starts, struck out eight and retired his last 11 batters.

Adeiny Hechavarria had two of Miami’s four hits in its eighth loss in nine games — matching its worst nine-game stretch since May. Tom Koehler (3-9) allowed six runs and seven hits, walked four and struck out one.

Ryan Zimmerman sparked Washington’s offense with a leadoff walk in the fourth. Bryce Harper drove Koehler’s next pitch over the wall in left for his 19th homer, extending his career-best hitting streak to 11 games.

Zimmerman, who went 3 for 3, led off the sixth with a base hit and Harper walked before Werth belted a drive to left for his 21st homer.

Desmond had the last homer of the night, a 1-2 shot to left with two out in the seventh for his 20th of the season. Zimmerman was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on Werth’s single before Desmond went deep.

Gonzalez gave Washington’s bullpen some much needed rest.

Although the Nationals swept Miami, their first two starters didn’t go deep. Stephen Strasburg pitched just three innings Wednesday due to a rain delay, and Ross Ohlendorf threw five-plus innings in the series opener.

Gonzalez walked three hitters in the first two innings, but they didn’t score. The Marlins have drawn 34 walks in their last 10 games, and none of the runners have scored.

Miami has scored three or fewer runs in each of its last eight games, averaging 1.6 runs in that stretch.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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