WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals broke out of their recent hitting slump Wednesday night against the Miami Marlins, rallying from an early 4-0 deficit and finishing with 15 hits.
They still came up short.
Casey McGehee’s fourth hit of the game drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, and Reed Johnson doubled home two more as the Marlins defeated the Nationals 8-5 to sweep the rain-shortened two-game series.
“This is just a test for us, to see where we’re at mentally, see how bad we want to grind our way out of it and get back in this division,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said after Washington lost for just the second time when scoring four or more runs. “It could always be worse.”
Washington, which has lost six of seven, had rallied from a 4-0 third-inning deficit to tie the game in the seventh.
They loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, but failed to score as Mike Dunn retired Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and LaRoche.
“The fact that we came back to tie it is a really good thing,” manager Matt Williams said. “The fact that we had that opportunity is a really good thing. It just didn’t happen.”
Ed Lucas singled off Jerry Blevins (2-2) to open the 10th and Christian Yelich walked. After Derek Dietrich bunted the runners over, the Nationals intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton.
McGehee then lined a single off the base of the wall in left on a slider from Aaron Barrett, scoring Lucas..
“That’s my best pitch and I wanted him to beat me with it,” Barrett said.
Johnson then doubled home Yelich and Stanton to make it 7-4, and Donovan Solano singled home the eighth run.
Kevin Slowey (1-0) worked one inning for the win.
Wilson Ramos, who went 3 for 6, hit a solo homer to tie the game in the seventh. Nate McLouth tied a career high with four hits.
Miami starter Henderson Alvarez blanked Washington for five innings. He led 4-0, but left with elbow stiffness and the Nationals rallied against Miami’s bullpen.
Jordan Zimmermann struggled for the fourth straight game, allowing four runs — three earned — and eight hits over five innings.
In his past four starts, he has given up 15 earned runs in 22 2-3 innings and his ERA has risen from 2.92 to 4.07.
“Yeah, my stuff’s there,” Zimmermann said. “I went back and looked at the film, and I made some pretty good pitches.”
The Nationals batted around in the sixth. Singles by LaRoche and Ramos off Chris Hatcher, followed by a walk from Ian Desmond, loaded the bases.
Hatcher struck out Kevin Frandsen for the second out, but McLouth hit the first pitch he saw for a two-run double.
Denard Span hit a bouncer that could have ended the inning, but first baseman Garrett Jones threw wide of pitcher Dan Jennings at first for an error and Desmond scored to make it 4-3.
Ramos tied it when he sent a 2-0 fastball from A.J. Ramos into the Marlins’ bullpen for his first home run.
Despite two baserunning mistakes, the Marlins built a 4-0 lead.
In the first, Yelich doubled to lead off, but broke for third on a grounder to short and was thrown out.
The Marlins had first and second with no outs in the fourth when McGehee grounded a single to left. Third base coach Brett Butler held Dietrich at third, but Stanton rounded second and came halfway to third before realizing it and was tagged out.
However, Jones, Marcell Orzuna and Adeiny Hechavarria collected RBI singles, and Orzuna scored on a throwing error by Werth.
NOTES: Washington 3B Ryan Zimmerman (fractured right thumb) took live batting practice and fielded ground balls Wednesday for the first time since going on the DL April 13. … The first ballot update for the NL’s starting lineup in the All-Star game was released on Wednesday and Stanton was fourth among outfielders, trailing third-place Ryan Braun by about 20,500 votes. Washington 2B Anthony Rendon ranks fourth, well-behind leader Chase Utley. … Both teams are off Thursday. Miami opens a three-game home series Friday against Atlanta, while Washington hosts the Texas Rangers.
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