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Four-homer inning propels Washington Nationals past Miami Marlins

By
Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
Washington Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth (28). Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Washington Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth (28). Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI -- Jayson Werth's 200th career home run came in a big spot.

Werth's shot, on a 3-2 fastball in the seventh inning, broke up a scoreless pitching duel between Miami Marlins rookie Adam Conley and Washington Nationals veteran Stephen Strasburg.

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Washington added three more home runs in that inning -- including a grand slam by Bryce Harper -- in a 7-0 win over Miami on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

All seven runs were scored in the seventh, and it is likely none meant more to Nationals fans than the one slugged by Werth.

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"There was a time when I didn't think I'd get to play anymore," said the 36-year-old Werth, who has been beset by injuries. "You cherish these moments.

"I'm sure when I look back at my career, it will mean even more."

The Nationals hit four homers in an inning for the first time since the franchise moved to Washington in 2005. It also was the first time the Marlins allowed four homers in an inning.

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"It happened fast," Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich said of Washington's explosion.

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Conley (0-1) was working on a four-hit shutout before Werth pulled his solo homer to left-center.

With that blow, Werth became just the fourth player to reach 200 homers while wearing a Nationals uniform, joining Alfonso Soriano, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman.

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After Werth went deep, Wilson Ramos homered to left-center on the next pitch. Harper's grand slam, on an 86 mph breaking pitch from reliever Chris Narveson, gave Washington a 6-0 lead.

It was Harper's seventh homer of the season and his fifth in the past six games. It was also his second grand slam in five days.

The next batter, Zimmerman, capped the inning with a solo homer.

"It was a lot of fun," Harper said of the big inning. "Conley kept us off balance all night, and then two great at-bats by (Werth and Ramos)."

Werth said the 23-year-old Harper has come a long way in his relatively short time in the majors.

"What he's doing is pretty special," Werth said. "He is arguably one of the best players in the game. From last season on to this year, he has been really exciting, and I think that is probably an understatement.

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"I wouldn't have given him that type of credit earlier in his career. But from where I'm sitting, it's fun to watch."

Washington's power display overshadowed an outstanding effort by Strasburg (3-0), who pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks. He struck out 10 and lowered his ERA to 1.25.

Strasburg also went 2-for-3 at the plate and is hitting .250.

Conley, who struck out eight and walked just one, pitched brilliantly until Werth got to him. In the first inning, Conley struck out Harper swinging at a 2-2 curveball with a runner on third and no outs. In the fourth, Conley again struck out Harper swinging, this time on a 94 mph fastball.

"Adam was really good," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "This guy pitches like an ace. He was attacking inside. He went after those guys like he had no fear."

Ultimately, though, Conley was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 innings. Before the seventh, he had pitched 12 consecutive scoreless frames over two games.

"Stasburg and I were trading punches all night," Conley said. "Their hitters were waiting for an opportunity. When I let up, they took it."

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NOTES: Miami rested SS Adeiny Hechavarria and started SS Miguel Rojas, who went 0-for-3. ... Marlins RHP Edwin Jackson (strained right triceps) was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 18. Jackson had been pitching out of the bullpen. ... To reinforce its bullpen, Miami recalled RHP Nick Wittgren from Triple-A New Orleans. He had a 3.38 ERA in four relief appearances at New Orleans. Wittgren made his major league debut in the seventh and walked the one batter he faced. ... Marlins OF Ichiro Suzuki needs one more steal to get 500 for his career. ... Marlins manager Don Mattingly compared Nationals RF Bryce Harper to former Dodgers OF Kirk Gibson. Harper, 23, this season became the eighth-youngest player in major league history to reach the 100-homer milestone. ... In his second at-bat Tuesday, Harper hit a foul ball that landed in the open press box.

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