Nationals 6, Marlins 4

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Ryan Zimmerman is quickly building a reputation for clutch home runs.

Zimmerman hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to lift the Washington Nationals over the Florida Marlins 6-4 Tuesday.

It was Zimmerman’s second game-winning homer in less than three weeks. He hit a two-run homer in the ninth to beat the New York Yankees 3-2 on June 18.

“They’re all good,” Zimmerman said. “Can’t take away anything from a game-winning hit. They’re all special.”

Zimmerman hit a 2-2 pitch from Florida closer Joe Borowski (0-2) over the left-field fence with Robert Fick on second and All-Star Alfonso Soriano on first. Zimmerman flipped off his helmet as he approached home plate and leaped into a mob of jubilant teammates.

“You sit in the dugout and dream—nothing wrong with that,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “And sometimes, it comes true.”

The Nationals won their fourth straight and second in four days on a game-ending home run. Nick Johnson homered to give the Nationals a win over Tampa Bay on Saturday.

The Marlins have dropped three in a row.

Robert Fick and Alfonso Soriano singled with one out in the ninth. Jose Vidro then flied out to set it up for Zimmerman, who lined a slider from Borowski over the left-field fence.

“I didn’t know. I knew I hit it pretty good. But I really didn’t know,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman, a rookie, has 56 RBIs, and has played the last two games as the Nationals’ third hitter in the batting order.

“He doesn’t play like a rookie, like the average rookie,” Robinson said. “You all heard the accolades that was thrown at him and thrown on him. He’s showing some of that. He’s a very special individual. They don’t come along often.”

Chad Cordero (4-3) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win.

Hanley Ramirez homered and scored two runs for the Marlins. His fifth drive of the season off Jon Rauch in the seventh tied it at 3.

The Marlins took a 4-3 lead after All-Star Miguel Cabrera scored on a botched double play in the eighth. With runners at first and second, Joe Borchard hit a grounder to third baseman Zimmerman, who went to second for the forceout. But Jose Vidro’s relay throw to first bounced in the dirt and bounded away from Nick Johnson.

Cabrera raced in from third and beat Johnson’s throw to the plate to give the Marlins the lead.

Borowski entered with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, but he got two outs to work out of the jam. Fick’s one-out single in the ninth barely went over Ramirez’s glove at shortstop, and Soriano reached on a high popup that landed in shallow center field.

One batter later, Zimmerman ended the game with the home run.

“It’s unfortunate because Joe did a great job,” Florida manager Joe Girardi said. “Fick’s base hit, Soriano’s base hit, he threw one pitch that they hit hard, it cost us the game. And it’s unfortunate, because he did an awesome job.”

Marlins starter Scott Olsen allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in six innings. He walked four, struck out six and allowed a second-inning home run to Marlon Byrd.

John Patterson allowed two runs and four hits, walked one and struck out five in five innings for the Nationals. He is winless in three starts since returning from two months on the disabled list with a right forearm strain.

After retiring the first nine batters he faced, Patterson struggled in the fourth. Ramirez walked and scored on All-Star Dan Uggla’s RBI double. Uggla then scored on Cabrera’s single to make it 2-1.


The Marlins’ last blown save was May 20 against Tampa Bay. … Nationals LHP Mike Stanton, who pitched a scoreless sixth, appeared in his 1,072nd game, breaking a tie with Dennis Eckersley for third on baseball’s career appearances list. Jesse Orosco is the leader with 1,252 games pitched, followed by John Franco’s 1,119. … Nationals utility player Marlon Anderson sat out the game with a strained ribcage muscle on his left side. He is listed as day to day. … Soriano’s two steals in the first inning gave him 20 for the season to go along with 26 home runs. He is the franchise’s first 20-20 player since Vladimir Guerrero did it for the Montreal Expos in 2002. … Patterson left his last start on June 29 after three innings because of fatigue in his throwing arm. … Olsen has allowed three runs or less and lasted at least six innings in his last seven starts, but he is winless in his last three outings. … The announced attendance was 23,118. On July 4, 2005, a sellout crowd of 44,331 saw the first-place Nationals lose to the New York Mets.

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