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Washington Nationals drop series finale to Miami Marlins, 5-1: Max Scherzer struggles in MIA

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Bryce Harper hit another home run off Tom Koehler in the first, but Washington Nationals' right-hander Max Scherzer was not sharp and the Miami Marlins fought back with five runs in five innings against the Nats' starter in what ended up a 5-1 win.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Koehler probably has recurring nightmares in which he's forced to face hard-hitting Washington Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper. Harper started play today 8 for 26 (.308/.379/.923) against the Miami Marlins' right-hander with a total of five home runs off Koehler in 29 PAs so far in their respective careers.

Only one of Harper's five home runs off Koehler was hit in Marlins Park, however... before this afternoon that is...

Harper hit his second home run off the Marlins' starter in Miami and his sixth off Koehler in 30 career PAs with two out in the first inning of the series finale of the Nationals' four-game set in South Florida, taking a 94 mph first-pitch fastball for a ride to pretty much straight center in Marlins Park for a solo blast that made it 1-0 early. Harper's 8th of 2016.

Miami came right back in the bottom of the first though, with Marcell Ozuna turning on a 94 mph 1-1 fastball inside from Max Scherzer and powering it out to left for a three-run home run that made it 3-1 Marlins.

With runners on first and third in the second, Martin Prado lined a 3-1 fastball from Scherzer to left-center for an RBI single that put the Marlins up by three, 4-1.

Scherzer settled in over the next few innings, but a two-out RBI double to right by Justin Bour in the fifth, on Scherzer's 94th pitch, added another run to the Marlins' lead, 5-1.

Max Scherzer's Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 99 P, 64 S, 6/5 GO/FO.

Tom Koehler's Line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 85 P, 49 S, 3/1 GO/FO.

Matt Belisle took over on the mound for the Nationals in the sixth and tossed two scoreless frame to keep it within four runs, at 5-1.

Felipe Rivero tossed a scoreless eighth, but the Nationals went down in order in the ninth. 5-1 Marlins final.

Nationals now 11-4

NATS NOTES:

  • With his RBI double in last night's game, Bryce Harper improved to 8 for 14 (.571 AVG) with four doubles, four home runs and six walks with runners in men on base so far this season. The bases were empty when he homered in the first today.
  • Daniel Murphy was 2 for 4 last night, extending his current hit streak to 12-straight games. So far this season, the former Mets' infielder, who signed a 3-year/$37.5M deal with the Nationals this winter, has reached base in 28 of 56 PAs, and he has reached base safely in 13 of 14 games.
  • Murphy entered play today leading the Majors in AVG (.429), with the third-highest OBP (.500) and fifth-highest SLG (.714).
  • Dusty Baker moved Michael A. Taylor out of the leadoff spot today, but told reporters this morning it was a temporary mental break for the 25-year-old outfielder:
  • In today's Nationals-themed Fun with Arbitrary End Points segment: With last night's win, the Nationals improved to 49-31 against the Marlins... since 2012, when they dropped the "Florida" and became the Miami Marlins.
  • In five starts against the Marlins last season, Max Scherzer was (3-1) with a 2.75 ERA, walking 36 and allowing just six walks in 36 innings.
  • Tom Koehler was making his 11th career start against the Nationals today, after having gone (3-7) with a 4.45 ERA in the previous ten outings.
  • Marlins' non-starters started the day with a combined .314 AVG (11 for 35) which was the second-highest average in the NL behind only the St. Louis Cardinals' bench bats.
  • Though the Nationals have kept Giancarlo Stanton in check, he did hit his 25th career home run in 76 games against Washington earlier in this week's four-game series.
  • With his infield single on Tuesday night, Ichiro Suzuki moved within three hits of former Nats' skipper Frank Robinson on the all-time hit list among Major League batters. He picked up two more hits in his first three at bats today.
  • Christian Yelich has reached base in all 13 games he's played this season. His 13 walks (seven of them against the Nationals) are tied for the NL lead. He took walk No. 14 of 2016 in the 7th.

Nationals now 11-4