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Nationals 3-2 over Marlins: Adam LaRoche's HR, Denard Span's RBI single enough

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The Washington Nationals made it two straight in Miami with a 3-2 win over the Marlins that left them 8-5 against their NL East rivals this season. Adam LaRoche hit a two-run blast, Denard Span drove in a run and Doug Fister and the pen made it hold up.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

TKCHZ!! ZIM IS COMING TOP 5:

5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche sat out of the series finale in Atlanta's Turner Field with the rest of the Nats' everyday players after they clinched the NL East, and skipped last night's game when he asked Nationals' manager Matt Williams for one more day to rest his bothersome back. But he picked up where he left off tonight, taking Miami Marlins' starter Tom Koehler deep in the first for a two-out, two-run home run to right that landed in the upper deck and gave the Nats a 2-0 lead. HR no.25 of 2014 for LaRoche.

The Marlins cut the Nationals' lead in half in the bottom of the second with center fielder Marcell Ozuna tripling to left-center and off the out-of-town scoreboard before scoring from third on a groundout to third base by first baseman Justin Bour. 2-1 Nats

Wilson Ramos and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back one-out singles to right off Koehler in the fourth, and one out later, Ramos scored on Denard Span's second hit of the night, an RBI single that made it 3-1 Nationals after three and a half.

Marlins' first baseman Justin Bour took the first pitch of the Marlins' fourth to right-center for a solo home run that made it a one-run game, 3-2. The blast was the first of Bour's MLB career.

That's as close as the Marlins would get. 3-2 Nats final. Two straight in Marlins Park.

4. Fister vs the Fish: Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister dropped three straight decisions to the Giants, Phillies and Dodgers in his last two starts in August and his first start of September, but the 30-year-old starter bounced back with back-to-back wins over the Mets and Braves to improve to (14-6) on the year in his first season in the Nats' rotation following the trade that brought him to Washington from the Detroit Tigers this past winter.

"Not a whole lot of breaking balls, not a whole lot of changeups. Fastballs to both sides. Threw his cutter a little bit. So he was really good." -Matt Williams on Fister throwing seven scoreless vs ATL in D.C.

After throwing seven scoreless against Atlanta at home in Nationals Park, Fister gave up five hits and three runs, two earned last week in Citi Field in New York, with Wilmer Flores taking him deep to left in the bottom of the fifth for a two-run blast and Curtis Granderson driving in the unearned run an inning later after an error by Ian Desmond put a runner on in the sixth.

"He was good," Nationals' manager Matt Williams said after Fister's outing in NY. "Gave up the homer to Flores, but other than that he pitched really well. Out of some jams and we decided to get an extra run there and pinch hit for him, his pitch count was low, but this time of year, we've got a lot of guys in the bullpen so decided to pinch hit for him there, but he was good."

The win over the Mets left Fister (6-4) in 11 second-half starts with a 2.17 ERA, 3.88 FIP and a .254/.296/.356 line against in 70 ⅔ IP since the All-Star Break.

Tonight in Miami, the 6'8'' righty was taking on the Marlins for the first time this season and just the third time in his six-year major league career.

In the previous two outings, one of them a start, Fister gave up just one earned run in nine innings.

The second start of his career against the Marlins began with a fly to center...

1st: Christian Yelich took a 1-2 cutter to center where Denard Span caught out no.1 of the Marlins' first. Enrique Hernandez popped up to short center where Ian Desmond made the catch. Casey McGehee's grounder to the mound ended a quick, 12-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.

2nd: Marcell Ozuna tripled to the left-center gap on a 1-2 fastball from Fister and scored in the next at bat when first baseman Justin Bour grounded out to third base to bring the Marlins' first run in. Jarrod Saltalamacchia popped to short right for out no.2. Garrett Jones doubled to deep center field and off the lime green outfield wall with two down. Adeiny Hechavarria's groundout to his counterpart at short ended a 21-pitch frame that left Fister at 33 total after two.

3rd: Tom Koehler grounded out to first. Christian Yelich lined out to Bryce Harper in left-center. Enrique Hernandez's two-out walk pushed Fister up to nine pitches in the third, and a wild pitch allowed the infielder to take second base. Casey McGehee took a two-out walk to put two on with two out in front of Marcell Ozuna, who grounded into a force at second to end a 19-pitch frame. 52 total for Fister after three.

4th: Justin Bour homered to right-center on the first pitch of the Marlins' fourth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew to center in the next at bat and Garrett Jones popped out to third for two quick outs. Adeiny Hechavarria stepped in with two out and grounded out to third to end a quick, 10-pitch frame. 62 overall.

5th: Ed Lucas singled to right to start the Marlins' fifth, but Christian Yelich grounded to short to start a 6-4-3 DP. Enrique Hernandez stepped in with two out and sent a bloop single to right. Casey McGehee grounded into a force at second to end a 14-pitch frame that left Fister at 76 overall after five.

6th: Marcell Ozuna lined out to Denard Span in center. Justin Bour grounded out to first. A called strike three on Fish catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia gave Fister a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 frame. 87 total for the Nats' right-hander.

7th: Garrett Jones battled for nine pitches before lining out to right. Adeiny Hechavarria grounded out to short...

That was it for Fister.

Doug Fister's Line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 HR, 102 P, 65 S, 10/2 GO/FO.

3. Koehler vs the Nats: In 11 second-half starts before tonight's, 28-year-old Marlins' right-hander Tom Koehler was (3-2) with a 3.24 ERA, 21 walks (2.84 BB/9), 53 Ks (7.16 K/9) and a .270/.325/.375 line against in 66 ⅔ IP.

In the second game of the Marlins' four-game set with the Nationals, Koehler was taking on Washington for the third time this season. In the previous two outings he was (1-1) with a 1.38 ERA, two walks and seven Ks in 13 innings on the mound over which he held Nats' hitters to a combined .140/.260/.233 line.

The two starts came in back-to-back outings in April which saw the '08 Marlins' 18th Round pick give up five hits, two walks and two earned runs in six innings in Nationals Park and just one hit and five walks in seven scoreless innings in Miami the next time out in an 11-2 win.

Overall at home in Miami in his third major league campaign, Koehler was (6-4) in 13 starts and 84 IP with an ERA almost two runs lower (2.68 to 4.63) than he'd put up on in 95 ⅓ IP the road, a FIP that was a run lower (3.33 to 4.33) than it was on the road and a .212/.280/.318 line that was better across the board than his line against away from Marlins Park (.263/.346/.400).

Koehler's fourteenth start of the season at home in Marlins Park began with two quick outs, but the righty walked Jayson Werth two down and then lost an eight-pitch battle with Adam LaRoche which ended with an upper deck blast by the Nationals' first baseman, whose two-run home run made it 2-0 Nats. 25th HR by LaRoche, 29-pitch opening frame by Koehler.

Koehler needed 10 pitches to retire the side in order in the second. 39 pitches overall.

Denard Span tripled to right to start the third and Anthony Rendon walked to put runners on the corners with no one out and Jayson Werth due up. Werth walked for the second time in two at bats to load the bases for Adam LaRoche, who K'd looking at a questionable 0-2 curve. Ian Desmond lined to second in the next at bat, but Enrique Hernandez made the catch and beat Rendon back to second. 21-pitch frame for Koehler, 60 pitches overall.

Wilson Ramos lined to right for a one-out single in the top of the fourth and took second base on a single to right by Asdrubal Cabrera. Doug Fister K'd trying to bunt, but Denard Span came through with a two-out single to bring Ramos around and make it 3-1 after three and a half. 25-pitch frame, 85 overall for Koehler after four.

Adam LaRoche walked with one down in the fifth, but two outs later he was stranded at the end of a 13-pitch frame that left Koehler at 98 pitches overall.

Tom Koehler's line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 63 S, 2/4 GO/FO.

2. Turning Point(s): A big fourth inning was all the Washington Nationals needed last night in their 6-2 win over the Miami Marlins, which left them 7-5 against their NL East rivals this season with six games to play with the Fish left on the schedule.

In Miami's Marlins Park, the Nats improved to 4-3 with the win with the last three games in Florida to come over the next three days.

Adam LaRoche's first inning home run got the Nationals off to a good start, but Denard Span's two-out RBI single in the fourth gave the Nats' center field and leadoff man an NL-leading 56 multi-hit games. The third run was even more important after Doug Fister gave up a solo home run by Justin Bour in the first at bat of Miami's fourth.

1. The Wrap-Up: Sam Dyson took over for Miami in the sixth, and retired the Nationals in order in a 17-pitch frame.

Dyson came back out for the top of the seventh and gave up a two-out single by Jayson Werth but nothing else.

Matt Thornton took over on the mound for Doug Fister with two down in the seventh and Marlins' pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin at the plate. Valdespin stole second with Christian Yelich up, but a groundout to second ended the frame.

A.J. Ramos retired the Nationals in order in a 13-pitch top of the eighth.

Tyler Clippard got groundout to short form Enrique Hernandez with the first pitch of the Marlins' eighth. Casey McGeheen sent a fly to right for out no.2. Marcell Ozuna popped out to short. Five-pitch frame. 3-2 Nats.

Marlins' righty Chris Hatcher retired the Nationals in order in the ninth.

STOREN WARNING!!! Nats' closer Drew Storen took the mound with a one-run lead in the ninth looking for save no. 8 of 2014. Justin Bour grounded back to the mound on a 1-0 change. Jarrod Saltalamacchia lined out to left. Garrett Jones grounded out to first. Ballgame. Nationals 3-2 over the Marlins.

Nationals now 89-64