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Nationals 4-1 over Marlins; late-game HRs by Wilmer Difo, Mark Reynolds lift Nats...

Wei-Yin Chen dominated the Nationals until Wilmer Difo hit a game-tying homer in the eighth, and Mark Reynolds took Brad Ziegler deep in the ninth to put Washington ahead in what ended up a 4-1 win in Miami.

Washington Nationals  v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Marlins’ lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who was winless in four starts heading into the second of three with Washington Nationals in Marlins Park this afternoon, with an 8.10 ERA in 16 23 innings over that stretch, tossed 7 13 scoreless before Wilmer Difo broke up his shutout with a solo shot that banged off the left field foul post and tied things up at 1-1, ending Chen’s outing.

Tanner Roark, who was winless in his last three starts, receiving just four runs of support in those outings, got nothing while he was on the mound today, but was spared a loss when Difo hit the homer, and Mark Reynolds, who made a great play on a one-hop liner to first with runners on second and third in the Marlins’ eighth, throwing home to get an out at the plate, stepped to the dish in the top of the ninth and hit a solo shot to left to put the Nats up, 2-1, in what ended up a 4-1 win.

Roark vs the Fish: After a win over the Pirates on April 30th, Tanner Roark was (0-2) with the Nats 1-2 in his last three outings, over which the 31-year-old right-hander had put up a 3.10 ERA with four walks, 21 Ks, and a .213/.268/.333 line against in 20 13 innings pitched before today’s starting assignment.

Roark gave up six hits, a walk, and three earned runs in seven innings last time out against the LA Dodgers in Washington, D.C., throwing a season-high 117 pitches in what ended up being a 4-1 loss.

Roark received just four runs of support total over his last three outings, and he didn’t get any support through seven innings today in Miami, FL’s Marlins Park.

Roark held the Marlins to one hit through three scoreless on just 43 pitches, but J.T. Realmuto, who’d singled in the first, doubled to lead off the fourth, taking a 2-2 changeup to left field by third base for his 7th two-base hit of 2018, then came around to score on a one-out, opposite field single by Brian Anderson that gave the Fish a 1-0 lead.

Tanner Roark’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 111 P, 71 S, 10/3 GO/FO.

Chen vs the Nationals: Wei-Yin Chen was winless in four outings heading into today’s game after earning a W in his first start on April 28th, following a lengthy rehab from a partial tear of the UCL in his left elbow early in 2017.

Over that four-start winless streak, the 32-year-old southpaw struggled, putting up an 8.10 ERA with 10 walks, 11 Ks, and a .303/.390/.621 line against in 16 23 IP, though he was going up against a Nationals’ lineup today that had put up a .231/.311/.384 line against lefties this season, good for 10th/11th/10th across the line among NL teams.

Chen tossed five scoreless on 59 pitches, as the Marlins jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the second of three with the Nationals in Miami, holding the Nats to two hits and striking out four.

He was up to just 70 pitches total after he completed an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth, having thrown just 21 pitches total between the start of the fourth and end of the sixth inning, setting 11 in a row down after he gave up a Trea Turner single with one-out in the third.

The streak came to an end with a two-out walk to Michael A. Taylor in the seventh, but Chen popped Pedro Severino up to end his seventh scoreless frame.

Chen returned to the mound in the eighth, and ... gave up a one-out home run by Wilmer Difo, who bounced a 2-2 slider off the left field foul pole to FINALLY get the Nats a run, 1-1.

Wei-Yin Chen’s Line: 7.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 94 P, 67 S, 8/5 GO/FO.

Chen pwns Harper... apparently?: As mentioned on the Marlins’ broadcast of today’s game, after Bryce Harper struck out in his first three plate appearances against Wei-Yin Chen, that left him 0 for 5 with 5 Ks in his last 5 PAs vs the Fish lefty, going back to 2016, since Chen and Harper didn’t match up in 2017.

Harper, did, however, enter play today with a .278/.316/.500 career line vs Chen. So...

Pwned recently? Also, after his first K today, Harper took it out on his bat, and the bat rack in the visitor’s dugout, in clear view of impressionable 19-year-old National Juan Soto.

Not a good example, Harp. He went 0 for 4 with a walk in the game.

BULLPEN ACTION: Kyle Barraclough took over on the mound for Chen after Wilmer Difo tied it up at 1-1 in the eighth and got the Marlins out of the inning with the score still tied.

Tim Collins took the mound for the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth, and gave up leadoff and one-out hits, a single by Cameron Maybin, and a double by J.T. Realmuto.

With runners on second and third and two out, Justin Bour hit a sharp, one-hop liner to first that Mark Reynolds field before throwing home to get Maybin at the plate. Well-played. Two outs.

Justin Miller took over for Collins with runners on the corners in his Nationals debut, and got up 0-2 on Starlin Castro quickly before getting a backwards K with a 95 mph heater on the corner outside. Still tied.

Brad Ziegler took the mound for the Marlins in the ninth and gave up a solo shot to left by Mark Reynolds, who crushed a 3-1 fastball up in the zone and sent a no-doubter out to put the Nationals ahead, 2-1. No. 5 for Reynolds in 2018.

Juan Soto doubled and Michael A. Taylor walked in the next two at bats, and Soto scored on a grounder to first by Matt Adams that bounced off Justin Bour’s wrist/glove, 3-1.

Trea Turner drove in another run with an RBI single, 4-1 after eighth and a half in Miami.

Sean Doolittle, who got five outs on 13 pitches last night, came out for the save opportunity and completed a quick, 1-2-3 frame. Ballgame.

Final Score: 4-1 Nationals

Nationals now 27-22