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Nationals pile on late, beat Marlins 9-5 in series opener in Miami...

Max Scherzer gave up a season-high four runs on a season-high seven hits, but the Nationals beat the Marlins 9-5 in the series opener in Miami, FL.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer gave up 2-0 and 4-2 leads in the series opener with the Marlins in Miami, but the Washington Nationals loaded the bases with no one out in the seventh against reliever Nick Wittgren and scored three runs in the top of the inning on an RBI infield single by Trea Turner and a two-run opposite double by Bryce Harper (off Adam Conley) to take a 7-4 lead in what ended up being a 9-5 win.

Michael A. Taylor and Matt Adams hit two-run home runs in the second and sixth innings, respectively, to get the Nationals an early lead, and they held on after settling for just the three in the seventh with a parade of bullpen arms finishing out the first of three with the Fish.

Scherzer vs Fish: The lineups are different, of course, with things changing every season, especially in Miami, but after Max Scherzer went (1-1) with a 1.17 ERA, five walks, 30 Ks, and a .152/.230/.266 line against in 23 IP against the Marlins last season, the Nationals’ 33-year-old righty was (7-3) with a 3.21 ERA, 19 walks, 102 Ks, and a .226/.277/.388 line against over 14 starts and 89 23 IP against Washington’s NL East rivals in his career.

Scherzer took the mound tonight with an eight start unbeaten streak going overall in 2018, over which he was (6-0) with a 1.81 ERA, 13 walks, 87 Ks, and a .153/.218/.300 line against in 54 23 IP.

With his no-hit bid out of the way after the first pitch he threw, and a 2-0 lead when he took the mound in the second, the Nats’ ace was all business early, working around two Martin Prado hits (2 for 2 tonight, 15 for 33 career vs Scherzer) for three scoreless on 43 pitches.

An infield single, hit-by-pitch, and two-out, two-strike, two-run single in the fourth tied it up at 2-2, however, with Starlin Castro reaching on a one-out dribbler, moving up on the hit-by-pitch on Brian Anderson, and scoring when Miguel Rojas hit a line drive to short-center that a diving Michael A. Taylor caught on a hop.

Prado was 3 for 3 on the night and 16 for 34 career vs Scherzer after he doubled to lead off the Marlins’ fifth, but he was stranded at third three outs later.

Derek Dietrich got hold of a 2-2 cutter from Scherzer in the bottom of the sixth, sending a two-run shot into the second deck in right after the Nationals’ starter walked leadoff hitter Brian Anderson to start the frame, 4-4 game. Dietrich’s 5th.

Scherzer threw 32 pitches total in the sixth inning, and ended his night after 114 pitches total.

Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 114 P, 75 S, 5/4 GO/FO.

Also, Dietrich sure enjoyed the view on this one. Max doesn’t forget, Derek:

Ureña vs the Nationals: Miami’s 26-year-old starter, Jose Ureña, took the mound tonight in Marlins Park winless in ten starts at (0-7) with the Marlins 0-10 in his outings in 2018, over which the righty had a 4.55 ERA, 14 walks, 45 Ks, and a .258/.318/.396 line against in 57 13 IP.

The Fish were actually winless in his last 12 outings overall, going back to last season, which is the longest winless streak in franchise history.

Ureña was down 2-0 early after hitting Pedro Severino on the belt and giving up a two-run home run by Michael A. Taylor in the at bat that followed the hit-by-pitch.

Anthony Rendon was 3 for 3 on the night after he doubled with one down in the sixth, and he scored on a two-run home run to center by Matt Adams, who crushed a 2-2 fastball, 4-2 Nationals.

Jose Ureña’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HRs, 98 P, 57 S, 8/2 GO/FO.

MAT GOES Y-A-R-D!!: Speaking to reporters before tonight’s series opener in Marlins Park, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said Michael A. Taylor, who came into the game with a rough .186/.249/.311 line, 10 doubles, three home runs, 14 walks, and 60 Ks in 48 games and 182 plate appearances this season, was focused on getting better swings and aggressiveness early in the count.

Taylor put an aggressive swing on a 96 mph 2-1 two-seamer from Marlins’ starter Jose Ureña in his first at bat of the night, and crushed it, sending a two-run home run out to left field to put the Nationals on top early, 2-0. Taylor’s 4th of 2018.

In the bottom of the third, the 27-year-old outfielder tracked a Lewis Brinson fly to the wall in deep center field and took an extra base hit off the top of the fence.

Taylor was 2 for 3 on the night after he hustled around to second for a double on a liner to center field in the seventh, and he scored the Nationals’ fifth run of the game in a three-run inning.

BULLPEN ACTION: Marlins’ right-hander Nick Wittgren took over in the top of the seventh and gave up a leadoff double and a walk to Michael A. Taylor and Andrew Stevenson, respectively, in the first two at bats of the inning, with ball four to Stevenson on a wild pitch that put runners on the corners with no one out. Wilmer Difo (aka #DifOBP) walked to load them up in front of Trea Turner, and Turner sent a weak grounder to short for an RBI single that made it 5-4. No outs on the play.

Adam Conley took over against Bryce Harper with the bases juiced, and gave up a two-run double on a line drive to left on a 2-2 fastball outside that Harper went with, 7-4 Nationals.

Conley walked Anthony Rendon intentionally, then Matt Adams K’d in the next AB, and Juan Soto grounded into an inning-ending DP, but the Nats had the lead back.

Tim Collins took the mound for the Nationals in the Marlins’ half of the seventh, retiring lefty Justin Bour before Davey Martinez went to the pen for Wander Suero, who gave up a single by Starlin Castro and an RBI double by Brian Anderson before he was done for the night, 7-5.

Sammy Solis (making his 27th appearance in 49 games, which is tied for the most among National League relievers with the Colorado RockiesBryan Shaw), came on with a runner in scoring position at second and one out, and struck out Derek Dietrich, but a walk to Miguel Rojas brought Martinez out again...

Brandon Kintzler took over with two on and two out, and struck Lewis Brinson out with a filthy 3-2 sinker inside. Still 7-5 Nationals.

Andrew Stevenson walked with two out in the top of the eighth, and went for third base on a Wilmer Difo single to center, scoring on an error on the throw in to third by Lewis Brinson, 8-5, and Difo scored on an error on a Trea Turner grounder to short, E:6, 9-5.

Kintzler came back out for the eighth inning, and had two runners reach on a one-out walk by Yadiel Rivera and a single by J.T. Realmuto, before Davey Martinez went to the pen again for closer Sean Doolittle... against Justin Bour, lefty vs lefty, and Doolittle got a quick, three-pitch K. Starlin Castro grounded into a force at second to end the threat.

Doolittle came back out for the ninth... and retired the Marlins in order. Ballgame.

Final Score: 9-5 Nationals

Nationals now 27-22