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Marlins blow 4-0 lead, but rally to beat Nationals 8-5 in extras

The Washington Nationals fell behind 4-0, but rallied to tie it on a Wilson Ramos home run in the seventh only to lose it in extra innings when the Miami Marlins put together a four-run frame. 8-5 final. The Nats drop two games to the Fish and fall to 25-27 on the year.

Greg Fiume

Giancarlo Stanton Must Be Stopped Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and Miami Marlins' righty Henderson Alvarez started the game with three scoreless innings each in Nationals Park.

The Marlins scored four in the top of the fourth, however, stringing together a walk and five hits including RBI singles by Garrett Jones and Marcell Ozuna and Adeiny Hechavarria. An error charged to Jayson Werth on Hechavarria's hit allowed the fourth run of the inning to score as the Marlins jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Zimmermann was out after just five innings pitched, replaced on the mound by Nats' lefty Ross Detwiler. Alvarez was lifted after just 62 pitches in five scoreless (with elbow stiffness), replaced on the mound by right-hander Chris Hatcher.

The Nationals promptly loaded the bases against the new pitcher with Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos hitting back-to-back one-out singles in front of Ian Desmond, who walked. Kevin Frandsen K'd swinging for out no.2, but Nate McLouth's third hit in three at bats was a two-run double to right that brought in the Nationals' first two runs of the game, 4-2 Marlins. Danny Espinosa walked with two down against a new pitcher, Dan Jennings, reloading the bases. Denard Span grounded to first for what should have been out no.3, but Garrett Jones threw by the covering pitcher for an E:3 that brought in the Nats' third run. 4-3 Fish after six.

Marlins' reliever A.J. Ramos retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh, but Wilson Ramos took a 2-0 fastball to left field and into the visitor's bullpen for a game-tying solo home run. 4-4 game. HR no.1 for Ramos.

Jerry Blevins took the mound for the Nationals in the top of the tenth and gave up a single by Ed Lucas and a walk to Christian Yelich. Derek Dietrich's bunt moved both runners into scoring position and after an intentional walk to Stanton loaded the bases. Aaron Barrett came on to face Casey McGehee, who lined an RBI single to right to make it 5-4 Marlins. Reed Johnson doubled to right to drive in two more, 7-4. Donovan Solano added an RBI single to make it 8-4 before the Nationals ended the frame.

Adam LaRoche hit a sac fly to right with runners on first and third in the ninth, but that was as close as the Nationals got.

8-5 final.

4. Zimmermann vs the Fish: Jordan Zimmermann's first start against the Miami Marlins in 2014 was the shortest outing of the 28-year-old right-hander's major league career to date.

Knocked out after just 1 2/3 IP on the mound in the nation's capital, the Nats' '07 2nd Round pick gave up seven hits and five runs, all earned before he left the game.

It was Zimmermann's second start of the year after he missed his first turn in the rotation while dealing with flu-like symptoms. His third start of the season was against the same Marlins, however, and he bounced back with seven strong innings on the mound in Miami in which he gave up six hits and two earned runs in a 9-2 Nationals' win.

"Really good heater tonight," Matt Williams said after that game. "Threw to both sides of the plate. Used his slider and his changeup a lot tonight too, but everything was off the fastball, which is what he does best. So, he was good. He was aggressive."

"The first start was an aberration because he [was] sick," Williams explained when a reporter noted that Zimmermann lasted longer that night than he did in his first two starts of 2014 combined. "And the second start his command wasn't there. To match those innings in this start, a little bit of an aberration, but he threw the ball great."

Heading into his third start of the season against the Marlins tonight in Nationals Park, Zimmermann was coming off three outings in which he wasn't particularly sharp, surrendering 25 hits and 12 earned runs (6.11 ERA) in 17 2/3 IP over which opposing hitters put up a combined .329/.370/.500 line.

He took the mound tonight in D.C. with an unbeaten streak against the Marlins which stretched back to the All-Star break in 2012.

Over that stretch, Zimmermann was (4-0) with a 3.58 ERA.

In his six major league seasons, Zimmermann was (5-3) with a 3.84 ERA against the Marlins before tonight, with 15 walks (1.75 BB/9) and 64 Ks (7.45 K/9) in 77 1/3 IP against Miami, over which Fish hitters put up a .252/.295/.407 line...

1st: Christian Yelich battled for nine pitches and managed to check his swing on a 2-2 slider before lining a 95 mph full-count fastball to left for a leadoff double, but he made the mistake of running toward third on a grounder to short by Derek Dietrich and was thrown out by Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond. Dietrich was safe at first, leaving a runner on for Giancarlo Stanton, who singled to center on an 0-2 fastball. Casey McGehee grounded to short in the next at bat, to start an inning-ending 6-4-3. 19-pitch, 14-strike frame for Zimmermann. 0-0 after a half.

2nd: Garrett Jones grounded out to first to start the top of the second. Zimmermann threw a high 95 mph 1-2 fastball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia for out no.2. Marcell Ozuna's weak fly to center ended a quick, 17-pitch, 1-2-3 frame. 36 total after two scoreless.

3rd: Adeiny Hechavarria popped a bunt up behind home for the first out of the third. Henderson Alvarez grounded weakly to short. Christian Yelich fell behind 0-2 quickly, and grounded out to third to end a eight-pitch frame. 44 total after three scoreless innings.

4th: Derek Dietrich was first-pitch swinging and lined to left for a leadoff single on a 94 mph heater. Giancarlo Stanton walked to put two on in front of Casey McGehee, who singled to right, but Stanton got caught between second and third on the hit when Dietrich stopped at third, and he was tagged out for the first out of the frame.

Garret Jones lined to the gap in right-center on a 3-2 fastball to bring Dietrich in with an RBI double. 1-0.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia K'd swinging for out no.2, but a two-out single to center by Marcell Ozuna brought in the Marlins' second run. 2-0. Adeiny Hechavarria drove in one more with a single to right and the Marlins' fourth run came in on an error on the throw in, 4-0, before more TOOTBLAN from the Marlins ended a 22-pitch frame by Zimmermann, who was up to 66 overall after four.

5th: Henderson Alvarez grounded sharply to third to start the fifth. Anthony Rendon made a diving play and strong throw for out no.1. Christian Yelich lined softly to right on a 1-1 change for a one-out single, but was forced out at second on a grounder to Kevin Frandsen off Derek Dietrich's bat. Giancarlo Stanton stepped in with a runner on and two outs, but went down swinging at a 2-2 fastball up high. 14-pitch frame, 80 total for Zimmermann after five.

Zimmermann's Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 80 P, 53 S, 7/1 GO/FO.

3. vs Alvarez: The Nationals scored three runs, just one earned, in 5 2/3 innings against Miami Marlins' starter Henderson Alvarez in a 5-0 win over the Fish back on April 8th in D.C.

In five career starts against the Nats in his career, the 24-year-old Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela-born right-hander, acquired from the Blue Jays in the 12-player 2012 trade/salary dump that brought him to the Marlins from Toronto, was (0-3) with a 3.81 ERA, six walks (2.08 BB/9) and 14 Ks (4.85 K/9) in 26 IP against the Nats before tonight, over which Nationals' hitters put up a combined .321/.363/.519 line.

Alvarez was coming off a start against the Phillies in which he threw seven scoreless in a 4-3 Marlins' win when he took the mound in the nation's capital.

Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche hit back-to-back one-out singles off Alvarez in the bottom of the first, but Wilson Ramos grounded back to the mound to end a scoreless, 17-pitch first.

Ian Desmond reached base on a hit-by-pitch in the second, but he was doubled up on a line drive to right by Kevin Frandsen when he strayed too far off the bag waiting to see if it fell in. A groundout to second by Jordan Zimmermann stranded Nate McLouth after the Nats' outfielder's two-out single. 13-pitch second for Alvarez, 30 overall in two scoreless.

A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 third left Alvarez at 40 overall.

After the Marlins took a 4-0 lead in the top of the fourth, Alvarez retired the Nationals in order in a quick, 12-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the inning. 52 pitches overall.

The Nationals got one and two-out singles by Nate McLouth and Denard Span in the fifth, but a flyout to center by Anthony Rendon ended a 10-pitch fifth. 62 total.

Henderson Alvarez's Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 62 P, 43 S, 8/2 GO/FO.

2. Key Matchup - Zimmermann vs Stanton: After going 3 for 4 with a double and a home run in Monday's series opener against the Nats in Nationals Park, Miami Marlins' slugger Giancarlo Stanton improved to 69 for 219 (.315/.403/.694) career with 20 doubles and 21 HRs in 61 games and 253 plate appearances against the Nationals in his five-year major league career.

In the nation's capital, Stanton had a .333/.412/.767 line with 14 doubles and 14 HRs in 34 games and 148 PAs after the first game of the series.

Against his fellow '07 2nd Round pick, Jordan Zimmermann, Stanton was 6 for 22 (.273/.360/.727) with a double, three home runs, three walks and six Ks in 25 plate appearances.

There was a runner on when Stanton stepped in against Zimmermann for the first time tonight.

The Nats' right-hander got up 0-2 on the Marlins' slugger, but left an 0-2 fastball over the plate which Stanton sent screaming back up the middle for a one-out single. 7 for 23 for Stanton vs Zimmermann.

Derek Dietrich singled in front of Stanton in the top of the fourth. Zimmermann got the Marlins' slugger to bite on a 3-1 slider, but Stanton spit on a 3-2 slider outside and walked when Zimmermann refused to give in.

There was a runner on for Stanton in his third at bat as well, but he went down chasing a 2-2 fastball up out of the zone. Swinging K for Zimmermann. 1 for 2 with a walk for Stanton.

Advantage: Stanton - 1 for 2, BB, K.

1. The Wrap-Up: Ross Detwiler took over on the mound for Zimmermann in the sixth and threw a scoreless 15-pitch frame.

Right-handed reliever Chris Hatcher took over for Henderson Alvarez in the bottom of the sixth, after five scoreless by Alvarez, which raised some questions/concerns. (Later reported to be removed for precautionary reasons with right elbow stiffness.) Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos connected for back-to-back one-out singles off the Marlins' reliever. Ian Desmond walked to load the bases with one down. Kevin Frandsen K'd swinging over an 0-2 slider for out no.1, but Nate McLouth connected for his third hit of the night in the next at bat, lining a two-run double to right to bring LaRoche and Ramos in and make it a 4-2 game.

Marlins' lefty Dan Jennings came on for Hatcher and walked Danny Espinosa to reload the bases.

Denard Span grounded to first for what should have been out no.3, but first baseman Garrett Jones threw it by the covering pitcher for an E:3 that allowed the Nationals' third run to score, 4-3 Miami.

After the Nationals made it a one-run game in the bottom of the sixth, Drew Storen retired the Marlins in order in a quick, seven-pitch top of the seventh.

A.J. Ramos took the mound for Miami in the top of the eighth and retired the first two batters in order before gave up a solo blast to left by Wilson Ramos, who took a 93 mph 2-0 fastball into the visitor's bullpen to tie things up at 4-4.

Tyler Clippard put two runners on with one out when Giancarlo Stanton walked and Casey McGehee singled, but one out later, Wilson Ramos made a snap throw to first to catch McGehee sleeping for out no.3.

Nate McLouth walked to start the Nationals' eighth with Marlins' lefty Mike Dunn on the mound. With pinch hitter Scott Hairston up, McLouth stole second on a 2-0 fastball and Hairston walked to put two on with no one out. Denard Span bunted trying to advance both runners, but looked like he was going to be safe even before Dunn threw one over first base. Derek Dietrich was backing up first, where he made a catch to keep it tied, but the bases were loaded with no one out for Anthony Rendon. Rendon battled for 10 pitches, fouling off five two-strike offerings before striking out on a filthy 2-2 slider. Jayson Werth stepped in with the bases loaded and one down and popped out to the infield. Adam LaRoche? Groundout to first.

Rafael Soriano took the mound in the top of the ninth and retired the side in order in a seven-pitch frame.

Kevin Slowey took over on the mound in the ninth. Wilson Ramos lined to right in the first at bat, but was thrown out at second by Giancarlo Stanton. Kevin Frandsen singled with two down and took third on a bloop hit to center by Nate McLouth, who was 4 for 4 after the hit. Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs took a hack at the first pitch he saw and popped out to foul territory off first. 4-4 after nine.

Jerry Blevins took the mound in the top of the tenth and gave up a leadoff single by Ed Lucas. Blevins then walked Christian Yelich to put two runners on with no one out. Derek Dietrich bunted both runners over/gave up an out, so the Nationals walked Giancarlo Stanton intentionally and brought Aaron Barrett on to face Casey McGehee, who hit an RBI line drive to left on a 2-2 slider. 5-4 Marlins. Reed Johnson drove in two in the next at bat with a fly to right that got over Jayson Werth. 7-4. An RBI single by Donovan Solano added drove in run no.8.

Steve Cisek gave up back-to-back one-out singles by Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth to put runners on the corners with one down. Adam LaRoche's sac fly made it 8-5,

8-4 Marlins final.

Nationals now 25-27