Soto, Robles HR as Nats beat Marlins to complete sweep
MIAMI (AP) — Another productive sixth inning helped the Washington Nationals reach a notable point of their season.
A night after they scored three runs in the sixth to build a lead and eventually defeat the Miami Marlins, the Nationals did it again Thursday.
Victor Robles and Matt Adams homered against starter Sandy Alcantara during a five-run sixth that erased a three-run deficit and helped the Nationals to an 8-5 victory and a three-game series sweep.
Juan Soto and Kurt Suzuki also went deep, and Trea Turner had two hits and two stolen bases for the Nationals, who have won 8 of 10 and have climbed from 19-31 on May 23 to reach .500.
“They played unbelievable,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “We talked about earlier today. When we get down, there is no quit.”
Stephen Strasburg (9-4) won his 10th straight decision against Miami after allowing four runs and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out four on a season-high 111 pitches. He hasn’t lost to Miami since 2015.
“I’ve been saying it all along — we have great chemistry in the clubhouse,” Strasburg said. “We’re playing for each other. We give everything we have. The goal is to be better at the end of the year and not the start of the year.”
Adams hit a three-run shot for the second straight night, this time tying the game at 4. He has hit six home runs with 16 RBI in his last 10 games.
“I’ve been laying off those tough borderline pitches for the most part and getting a better pitch to hit after that,” Adams said.
Robles’ two-run homer to left-center broke the tie. Suzuki homered in the eighth to pad the Nationals lead.
Alcantara (4-7) was lifted after the sixth. The rookie right-hander allowed six runs, seven hits and a walk.
“A couple breaking balls that didn’t do anything, they just stayed right there,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said of the homers Alcantara allowed to Adams and Robles. “He was going pretty good, his pitch count was pretty good. When he’s got that kind of momentum he usually keeps rolling.”
Wander Suero struck out the side in the eighth, and Sean Doolittle allowed Cesar Puello’s RBI groundout in the ninth for the Nationals in a non-save situation.
“If you watch our games all year long, there is that extra fight, that extra push,” Martinez said. “It’s no secret our bullpen has struggled but you can see it. We come back but couldn’t finish it. But now we’re finishing the game.”
The Marlins scored three off Strasburg in the third on Miguel Rojas’ two-run double and Harold Ramirez’s RBI groundout.
Soto’s opposite field solo homer in the fourth cut Miami’s lead to 3-1. Soto drove Alcantara’s 3-1 fastball over the wall in left-center for his 13th home run of the season.
Miami regained its three-run advantage on Garrett Cooper’s two-out single to center that scored Rojas from second.
Rojas tied a career-high with four hits, including three doubles.
“I came early today to get extra hitting because I feel I can get better,” Rojas said. “Leading off you have a lot of opportunities. You have to be ready to go every time you step in the box.”
THIRD TIME SUCCESS:
For the second consecutive game, the Nationals waited out Miami starting pitchers and pounced once they reached the third time in the order. Again, they were ready with the game-changing sixth inning.
“We stayed on the ball and we made good contact,” Martinez said. “When we go good with our hitting, we stay in the zone and stop chasing.”
Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (foot) played a nine-inning game in a rehab assignment at Double-A Harrisburg Wednesday.
Marlins: C Jorge Alfaro (concussion protocol) fielded grounders at third base.
Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 4.02) returns to Detroit to face the Tigers in the opener of a three-game series Friday. From 2012 to 2017, Sanchez was 46-49 with a 4.43 ERA for the Tigers.
Marlins: Rookie RHP Elieser Hernandez (0-2, 4.34) takes the mound for the opener of a three-game series against division-rival Philadelphia on Friday.