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Washington Nationals drop 7-4 decision to Miami Marlins in Bryce Harper’s return to lineup...

After a one-hour, forty-minute rain delay, the Washington Nationals dropped the series opener to the Miami Marlins, 7-4.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Bryce Harper returned to the lineup this afternoon for the first time since he injured his right thumb on an awkward slide into third base in last Sunday’s series finale with the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park. He went 0 for 4 with 4 Ks.

A.J. Cole lasted three innings, giving up six hits and four runs (two earned) in what could be his final outing of the 2016 campaign.

With Miami up 4-0 after three in Washington, D.C., the Nationals rallied with back-to-back homers by Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew, an RBI double by Jose Lobaton and an RBI single by Trea Turner in the fourth, 4-4.

The Marlins went back up in the sixth, however, with Justin Bour doubling and scoring on an infield single by Dee Gordon, 5-4, and Christian Yelich made it 6-4 with a solo HR in the seventh.

It ended up a 7-4 loss to the Nationals, with two to play in the regular season, and a magic number of two pending the outcome of tonight’s Giants vs Dodgers game...

Here’s how it happened:

Christian Yelich doubled to deep right on a 2-0 fastball to start the second, connecting for his 38th two-base hit of 2016, and he moved up on a hard-hit single through short by Marcell Ozuna before scoring on a single to center by Justin Bour, 1-0.

Ozuna took third on a flyout to center by J.T. Realmuto and scored on an RBI single by Adeiny Hechavarria, 2-0.

Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew, both on the right side in the shift, let a pop-up to second by Derek Dietrich drop in for a hit when they deferred to each other and Drew missed a late attempt to make the catch.

Martin Prado singled to center in the next at bat, putting runners on the corners, and a sac fly to left by Christian Yelich gave the Marlins a 3-0 lead in the third. Justin Bour hit a grounder over the mound and up the middle for a two-out RBI single that made it 4-0 Miami.

A.J. Cole’s Line: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 47 P, 30 S, 2/2 GO/FO.

Anthony Rendon got the Nationals on the board with a solo home run to left field off Andrew Cashner in the bottom of the fourth.

Rendon’s 20th* made it a 4-1, and Stephen Drew followed with a solo shot to center to make it a two-run game, 4-2.

[ed. note - “ * = With Rendon’s 20th HR, the Nationals have six players who’ve hit 20+ HRs this season: Rendon (20), Daniel Murphy (25), Bryce Harper (24), Danny Espinosa (23), Wilson Ramos (22), and Jayson Werth (21).”]

Clint Robinson singled in the next at bat and scored one out later on an RBI double to right by Jose Lobaton, 4-3. Wilmer Difo walked to put runners on the corners with one out and Trea Turner lined an RBI single to right to tie it up at 4-4 after four.

Justin Bour doubled to start the Marlins’ sixth, but he was standing on third two outs later when Dee Gordon sent a slow roller toward short for an RBI single that drove in the go-ahead run, 5-4 Fish.

Rafael Martin recorded the first out of the seventh, so Dusty Baker brought Sean Burnett on to face Yelich, lefty vs lefty, but the Marlins’ outfielder got all of an 0-1 sinker and sent a solo shot to right for his 21st of 2016. 6-4 Fish.

Miguel Rojas singled and scored in the top of the ninth, 7-4, and that’s how it ended as the Nationals dropped the series opener to the Marlins.

Nationals now 93-67


  • Miami is 115-100 against Washington since 2005, but... in today’s “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment, the Nationals hold a 44-28 edge over the Marlins... since 2013.
  • Washington’s 93-66 record on the year is the second-best record in the National League, behind only the Chicago Cubs (101-57).
  • Washington starts the night with a magic number of two to earn home field advantage in the NLDS.
  • The Nationals’ +150 run differential is the second-best in the NL, behind only, again, the Cubs (+248).
  • Mark Melancon is, according to Elias, the first major league reliever to earn 15 saves for one team after having 30 for another in one major league season.
  • Trea Turner starts the night leading the NL in triples (tied, 7), he’s second in total bases (160) and stolen bases (tied, 29) and is third in hits (97).
  • A.J. Cole faced the Marlins for the second time in his last three starts tonight.
  • Andrew Cashner is (2-4) with a 4.03 ERA in 11 career appearances vs the Nationals, but facing them for the first time as a Marlins’ starter tonight.
  • The Marlins’ .275 AVG on the road this season is the highest road average in the majors this season.
  • Giancarlo Stanton his 28 career home runs vs the Nationals, 16 of them in Nationals Park.

Nationals now 93-67