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Miami Marlins earn split with Washington Nationals

By David Driver, The Sports Xchange
Miami Marlins earn split with Washington Nationals
Miami Marlins center fielder Giancarlo Stanton. UPI/Susan Knowles | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- Miami center fielder Marcell Ozuna saw right fielder Giancarlo Stanton out of the corner of his eye as he tracked a long fly to right-center in the fourth inning by Washington's Ryan Zimmerman.

"I thought I could get that ball," Ozuna said. "I called it first and then he said, 'I got it.' I put my glove down."

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The two outfielders hit each other's legs and both of them fell to the ground as Zimmerman circled the bases with an-inside-the-park home run to trim the lead to 2-1. But Ozuna and Stanton stayed in the game and got hits in their next trips to the plate as the Marlins beat the Nationals 5-1 on Sunday to gain a split of the four-game series.

Said Stanton, who homered in the sixth: "The wind was blowing my way. We (hit) our feet or shins together."

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"I am happy that first of all that no one got hurt," said Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez, who allowed just one run in seven innings with 11 strikeouts. "That was very scary for us as a team and not fun to watch."

Manager Don Mattingly and the training staff headed to the outfield to check on the two players.

"You are not quite sure what you are going to get" upon arrival, Mattingly said. "It wasn't like it was a head-on blast."

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After that, Fernandez (5-2) took over as he fanned the side in the sixth and the seventh. He threw a career-high 117 pitches and gave up just four hits and three walks. He also had two sacrifice bunts and a two-run single.

"This was his best (outing). No true trouble. This was his smoothest" game, Mattingly said.

Said Washington manager Dusty Baker: "We had him on the ropes a few times."

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But the Nationals were held to one run for the second game in a row going into a series in New York on Monday against the Mets. Washington had seven hits, with the Zimmerman homer and Danny Espinosa double as the only extra-base hits.

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"We were hitting the ball better than they were" without much success, Baker said.

Washington second baseman Daniel Murphy was held out of the starting lineup due to illness, then was retired on a fly to center as a pinch hitter for the final out of the game as closer A.J. Ramos got the save. Murphy is hitting .400 while Anthony Rendon was 0-for-3 and is hitting .227 as Murphy hit for him in the ninth.

"I was trying to get Bryce (Harper) to the plate," said Baker, though Harper was on deck when the game ended.

The Marlins scored two unearned runs in the third to take a 2-0 lead. Washington second baseman Stephen Drew lost a popup in the sun for an error off the bat of Martin Prado to score J.T. Realmuto (three hits) and Adeiny Hechavarria, who ended the day with two hits.

Stanton hit 11th homer of the year in the sixth -- a solo shot over the fence in right off starter Joe Ross (3-3) to give the Marlins a lead of 3-1. Later in the inning Fernandez lined a single to center to drive in two runs to make it 5-1 and send Ross to the showers.

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Fernandez was aided by a diving catch by left fielder Christian Yelich on a liner by Harper to end the fifth. Harper was 0-for-3 after sitting out the second game of a doubleheader Saturday following a one game suspension by MLB.

Ross yielded five runs (three earned) on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings before Oliver Perez took over in the sixth. Espinosa and Zimmerman had two hits for the Nationals.

The Marlins (20-17) are 12-7 on the road while Washington (23-15) has lost seven of its last 11 and is hitting .242 as a team.

"We just have to keep swinging," Baker said.

NOTES: Marlins CF Marcell Ozuna extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the sixth. ... The game began with a 21 mile-per-hour breeze from the west, blowing towards right field. ... Both starting pitchers -- Washington RHP Joe Ross and Miami RHP Jose Fernandez -- were both first-round draft picks in 2011. ... The Nationals sent OF Matt den Dekker back to Triple-A Syracuse after he served as the 26th man for the Saturday doubleheader. ... The Marlins sent RHP Kendry Flores back to Triple-A New Orleans after he was the 26th man for the twinbill as the starter in Game 2 Saturday. Miami also called up LHP Jarlin Garcia from Double-A Jacksonville and sent RHP Nick Wittgren to Triple-A New Orleans. ... Washington 2B Daniel Murphy (.403) and Miami 3B Martin Prado (.381) entered Sunday as the top two hitters in the National League. Murphy was not in the starting lineup after he struggled in the field Saturday. Also out of the lineup for the Nationals was LF Jayson Werth, hitting .208 with 34 strikeouts in 120 at-bats. 1B-OF Clint Robinson made his first start of the year in left and INF Stephen Drew started at second.

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