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Washington Nationals pound Miami Marlins, Bryce Harper's hitting streak at 13 games

By
Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper watches the ball sail off his bat. File photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper watches the ball sail off his bat. File photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI -- Bryce Harper, bare-chested in the Marlins Park visitors' locker-room, revealed a wicked sunburn on his arms and upper torso.

Similarly, the middle of the Washington Nationals' lineup -- with Harper in the three-hole -- is also red hot, combining to drive in 10 runs in a 12-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.

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Harper, who had a two-run single, extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games as Washington (43-28) snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 4-2 on this road trip.

On the pitch before his single, Harper tried to get a two-out bunt hit, hoping to drive in the runner from third with the surprise play.

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"I don't hit (Edinson) Volquez well," Harper said of his 1-for-12 career stat-line against the Marlins starter entering Tuesday. "If I can lay a bunt down and knock in a run ... But it worked out to get a base knock and score two."

Almost everything the Nationals offense did worked out on Tuesday. That's especially true with the middle of the order. After Harper, Washington's 4-5-6 batters were, in order, Ryan Zimmerman (three RBIs), Daniel Murphy (two RBIs), and Stephen Drew (three RBIs).

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Gio Gonzalez, a native of Miami Dade County, benefited from the support and improved his record to 7-1, allowing six hits, two walks and three runs in seven innings. He struck out eight and beat Miami for the first time since 2014.

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Harper said he is rooting for Gonzalez to make this year's All-Star Game. The game is set for Gonzalez's hometown at Marlins Park on July 11.

"He's been great," Harper said. "I'm hoping Gio pitches like that the rest of the first half, and he gets the start here. That would be incredible."

Gonzalez said one of his friends in the stands was hit by a bat that left the grasp of Marlins first baseman Justin Bour in Tuesday's fifth inning. Gonzalez's friend was OK after getting hit in the head, and Bour gave the fan a bat as a souvenir.

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"My buddy was the one that got hit," Gonzalez said. "It's good to have friends, but put them somewhere safe. ...

"He's OK -- he has a tough, solid noggin. Next time, if my friends are in the front row, they will all be wearing helmets."

On the field, Gonzalez's main worry was Miami's Marcell Ozuna, who hit a two-run homer and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. The homer was Ozuna's 19th of the season for Miami (31-38).

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Volquez (3-8), who entered the game 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in his past four starts, took the loss. He allowed five hits, five walks and six runs in 4 2/3 innings.

He was especially wild in the third, and it cost him. He walked Michael Taylor and Trea Turner. That duo combined to execute a double steal on a close call on Taylor at third base. Harper then lined his single to center to give Washington a 2-0 lead.

Miami closed its deficit to 2-1 in the fourth. Ozuna singled and scored on a one-out double to the left-field corner by J.T. Realmuto. Ozuna, who ran past the stop sign put up by third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez, scored on a head-first dive.

Washington scored four times in the fifth to take a 6-1 lead. Taylor started the rally with a double, and he scored on Brian Goodwin's two-out single on a 3-2 pitch. After Harper was walked intentionally, Zimmerman drilled a two-run double to left, and Drew capped the rally with an RBI single.

"That inning," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said, "(Volquez) just couldn't get the last out."

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Ozuna's two-run, two-out blast to left cut Miami's deficit to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Ozuna hit a 3-2 pitch from Gonzalez.

Murphy, who is hitting .377 on the road this year, slugged a solo homer in the eighth -- his 12th of the season -- and Washington added five runs in the ninth, including RBI singles by Zimmerman and Murphy and a two-run double by Drew.

"They put you in a box in many ways," Mattingly said of Washington's lineup. "They can go left-right. Their record is the way it is because they can do some things."

NOTES: LHP Braxton Garrett, Miami's top prospect, had elbow surgery on Tuesday. RHP Tyler Kolek, Miami's second-rated prospect, had elbow surgery last year. ... Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon, who suffered a neck stinger while making a diving catch on Monday, missed Tuesday'sgame. ... Miami rested 3B Derek Dietrich, a lefty hitter, against left-hander Gio Gonzalez. ... Nationals RHP Max Scherzer, who will start Wednesday's series finale, is 2-3 at home but 6-1 with a 1.84 ERA on the road. Overall, he is 8-4 with a 2.26 ERA. In five career starts at Marlins Park, he is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA.

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