By Michael Marzzacco
The Nationals have struggled of late, losing four in a row. They could only muster eight runs during that span and Daniel Murphy was out of the lineup for the fourth night in a row with a left leg injury. On Wednesday night in the third and final game of their series with the Marlins in Miami the bats came alive and Max Scherzer had a good outing on the mound as the Nats cruised to an 8-3 victory.
“We had some good offensive days out of some guys, especially after our offense was a little sleepy the last couple days,” said manager Dusty Baker.
The Nats got their first run in the third. With Trea Turner at the plate, a throwing error by pitcher Tom Koehler on the pickoff attempt to second base scored Danny Espinosa.
Ryan Zimmerman belted a three-run homer in the fourth inning for his 15th home run of the year to put the Nats up 4-0. In the fifth, Jayson Werth singled into left field to drive in Scherzer.
Trea Turner hit a solo shot just inside the left field foul pole for his 12th of the year in top of the seventh.
In the bottom frame a home run by Christian Yelich and a two-run homer by Derek Dietrich got the Marlins on the board. The Nats answered with insurance runs in the eighth. Wilson Ramos hit an RBI double that scored Anthony Rendon. Ramos advanced to third on a single by Stephen Drew. Two batters later, Danny Espinosa hit a sacrifice fly to left field and Ramos scored from third on a close play at the plate. Ramos just got under the tag.
Scherzer went 6.2 innings with eight strikeouts. He allowed three runs on four hits but got the win to improve his record to 18-7.
“You’ve just got to keep your blinders on and keep going at it. You can’t worry about playoffs. You’ve got to just go out there and understand that if you take care of business, good things happen and I think if everybody does that, we’re going to be partying,” said Scherzer.
The Mets had a 3-0 lead but couldn’t hang on to beat the Braves. In the ninth inning at Citi Field a fly ball on Yoenis Cespedes was sure to leave the yard to give the Mets a much-needed walk-off home run but Atlanta center fielder Ender Inciarte had other ideas as he robbed a home run for the final out. As a result, a win combined with a Mets loss, the Nats magic number to clinch the NL East is now at two. They have a chance to clinch the division Friday night in Pittsburgh.