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Marlins beat Nats to prevent four-game series sweep

July 8, 2018 GMT

J.T. Realmuto had five hits, Martin Prado had four hits and leadoff man Derek Dietrich reached base five times as the Miami Marlins lashed out 22 hits and beat the Washington Nationals 10-2 on Sunday, preventing a four-game sweep.

The Nationals (45-44) had won 14 games in a row against the Marlins (37-55), a franchise high and the longest streak in the majors at the time. Third-place Washington began the day five games back of Atlanta and Philadelphia in the National League East race.

The loss before a sun-baked crowd of 30,464 spoiled what had been a memorable weekend at Nationals Park for the hosts, who held a players-only meeting Wednesday after losing their fifth game in a row.

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The Nationals, who scored 37 runs in the Miami series, responded by winning 14-12 on Thursday as they overcame a 9-0 deficit to the Marlins in the best comeback in franchise history. The next night Mark Reynolds hit a walk-off homer in the last of the ninth for a 3-2 win.

Then on Saturday night Reynolds, starting at first base, went 5-for-5 with two homers and 10 RBI as the Nationals won 18-4. The former University of Virginia standout became the fourth player in big league history to record a perfect day at the plate and get at least 10 RBI.

His streak came to an end Sunday but a bigger concern was Tanner Roark (3-11), the starting pitcher for the Nationals. He gave up four runs on 10 hits in just four innings and allowed the leadoff runner to reach all four times as his ERA rose to 4.76.

George Mason University product Justin Bour had a two-run double (the first extra-base hit for the Marlins), Prado had an RBI double and JT Riddle had an RBI single off Ryan Madson as the Marlins put the game away in the ninth to make it 10-2.

Dietrich and Realmuto had an RBI single in the seventh off reliever Justin Miler as Miami took a lead of 6-2. The Marlins had grabbed a 4-2 advantage in fourth on a two-out single by Riddle. Miami took a 3-0 lead off Roark in the second with an RBI single by light-hitting Cameron Maybin and a two-run single by catcher Realmuto.

The Nationals had trimmed the lead to 3-2 Daniel Murphy drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third. Murphy had a run-scoring single in the second to make it 3-1.

Roark gave up a career-high nine earned runs in his last start, against the Red Sox on Tuesday in an 11-4 win. He has not won since an 11-2 victory at home over Tampa Bay June 6.

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Roark hit a batter and allowed two singles in the first but came away without giving up a run. He wasn’t as lucky the next frame as the Marlins scored three runs on four singles. Roark was replaced by lefty Matt Grace, who pitched two scoreless innings.

Reynolds, who entered Sunday hitting .625 this month, walked in his first at-bat and then singled in the third for his seventh hit in a row. His streak came to an end when he hit into a fielder’s choice to end the fourth with the bases loaded. Reynolds made his first start of the year at third base and made an error in the first as regular Anthony Rendon got the day off. Things got so bad Reynolds had to pitch in the top of the ninth to save the Washington bullpen and he retired the only batter he faced on a grounder as the crowd roared.

There could be more help on the way on both offense and on the mound.

Catcher Matt Wieters, on the disabled list since May 11 with a left hamstring strain, made his second start in two days at catcher Sunday for the Double-A Harrisburg (Penn.) Senators at Bowie. He could be activated as early as Monday.

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation), on the disabled list since June 10, could make a minor league rehab appearance Tuesday, according to manager Dave Martinez.

Martinez said closer Sean Doolittle, who had an MRI, has “a little bit of strained toe” and was not available to pitch Saturday nor was he used Sunday. Doolittle has 22 saves and has not walked a batter in 29 games in a row while pitching at least one inning to set a major league record.

The Nationals begin a three-game series Monday night in Pittsburgh. The starter for the Nationals is slated to be rookie right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 5.52), who pitched one inning out of the bullpen Thursday. The probable starter for the Pirates is right-hander Ivan Nova (4-6, 4.48).

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