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Washington Nationals dominated by Sandy Alcantara in 3-0 win for Miami Marlins

Sandy Alcantara was perfect through five, and took a no-hit bid into the seventh in what ended up a 3-0 win for the Fish.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Sandy Alcantara retired the first 15 batters he faced in order before his bid for perfection ended on an ROE in the first at-bat of the sixth, but the Miami Marlins’ 26-year-old starter kept his no-hit bid intact through six, with a 1-0 lead over the Washington Nationals, then returned to the mound in Nationals Park in the seventh and retired two batters before he gave up a booming liner to right field and off of the wall by Josh Bell, who broke up the right-hander’s no-hitter...

It was still 1-0 in Marlins’ favor after seven, however, and the Nationals dropped the first of three with the Fish in D.C. by a final score of 3-0.

Espino vs MIA: Paolo Espino gave up seven hits and five runs in five innings on the mound against the Atlanta Braves last time out, and the veteran righty talked afterwards about the results not being what he wanted.

“I think it was definitely a tough outing,” Espino said. “I don’t think it was great. I guess I kept the team in there, but I made a few mistakes that didn’t go well.

“Overall, I think it was an okay outing, it wasn’t great.”

Tonight in the nation’s capital he was taking on the Marlins, against whom he tossed five scoreless back in July.

Espino fell behind early, giving up a pair of one-out singles, to Jazz Chisholm and Jesús Sánchez, around a walk to Bryan De La Cruz, with Chisholm scoring from second base when Sánchez lined a 3-1 fastball to right field to make it 1-0 early in the series opener.

Espino held the Marlins there through six as he settled in, and after a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 6th, he was up to 91 pitches with the score still 1-0 in Miami’s favor, as he tried to keep it close with the opposing pitcher, Sandy Alcantara, perfect through five...

Paolo Espino’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 91 P, 62 S, 4/4 GO/FO.

Alcantara vs D.C.: In back-to-back outings against the New York Mets, Marlins’ starter Sandy Alcantara gave up eight hits and four runs in 6 13 IP, before following up on the first outing with a 114-pitch, nine-inning outing in which he struck out a season-high 14 batters.

“That was special tonight,” manager Don Mattingly said, as quoted by Miami Herald writer Jordan McPherson after a 2-1 win over the Mets. “That stuff was filthy. He’s out there in the ninth and was at 110, 112 [pitches] throwing 100. That’s about as good as it gets right there.”

In his one start against the Nationals this season before tonight, the right-hander gave up six hits, three walks, and five runs, four earned, in a 5-1 loss.

Tonight in the nation’s capital, Alcantara retired the first 12 batters he faced, though No. 12 was a 112 MPH grounder back to the mound that ricocheted off his left leg/knee, right over to first baseman Lewin Diaz for out No. 3 of a scoreless fourth.

Alcantara came back out, however, and retired the side in order in an 11-pitch fifth to give him 15-straight outs, but Nats’ catcher Keibert Ruiz reached base safely on a grounder to second to lead off the sixth, when Jazz Chisholm bobbled it before falling on the outfield grass and making a weak toss to first base too late to get the runner. It was ruled an error, so the no-hitter was still in play. Andrew Stevenson grounded into a force at second, but hustled to first to avoid a DP, and Lane Thomas stepped in next and went down swinging to end a 14-pitch frame which left the Marlins’ starter at 71 pitches through six hitless innings.

Josh Bell broke up Alcantara’s no-hit bid with a two-out single in the seventh, but the Fish righty stranded him at first to complete his seventh scoreless frame.

Alcantara was up to just 90 pitches after seven, and he returned to the mound in the eighth and retired the side in order in a six-pitch frame.

Sandy Alcantara’s Line: 8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 96 P, 68 S, 9/7 GO/FO.

Bell On Base: Josh Bell came into tonight’s game with hits in 17 of his last 20 games, going 23 for 74 (.311 AVG) with four doubles, six home runs, 15 RBIs, 16 walks, and nine runs over that stretch, and he made it hits in 18 of 21 when he broke up Sandy Alcantara’s no-hit bid with a two-out single in the seventh inning tonight in Nationals Park.

Bullpen Action: Sam Clay came for the Nationals in the top of the seventh, and retired the Marlins in order to keep it a 1-0 game in Miami’s favor.

Austin Voth tried to keep it closer in the top of the eighth, and retired the Marlins in order to end a quick inning of work.

Patrick Murphy got the ball in the top of the ninth and gave up three straight hits, a single by Lewis Brinson, double by Lewin Diaz, and a two-run two-bagger by Alex Jackson, 3-0.

Dylan Floro came on to end it in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a leadoff single by Ryan Zimmerman, but got a slick, 5-4-3 DP out of Lane Thomas, and a groundout from Alcides Escobar to end a quick one.

Final Score: 3-0 Marlins

Nationals now 59-85