Marlins 5, Nationals 2

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MIAMI (AP)—Sergio Mitre kept the ball on the ground while his Florida Marlins teammates kept driving it out of the park.

Miguel Cabrera hit one of Florida’s three home runs and Mitre pitched effectively into the eighth inning, leading the Marlins past the Washington Nationals 5-2 on Saturday night.

Jeremy Hermida and Josh Willingham also connected against rookie Matt Chico (4-6), who dropped to 0-5 on the road.

Mitre (4-4) won at home with Florida for the first time in 15 career appearances at Dolphin Stadium, including 11 starts. He scattered six hits over 7 2-3 innings, allowing two runs while striking out three. He didn’t walk a batter and threw only 85 pitches.

“Any win is good, home or away,” Mitre said. “The ‘W’ is all that counts. I was able to keep it down and away from them.”

Mitre piled up 17 groundball outs and three flyouts.

“He deserves all the credit,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said. “He had our guys beating the ball into the ground all night.”

The Nationals were trailing 5-1 in the eighth with two outs and a runner on second when Ronnie Belliard hit a fly ball off Mitre that bounced off the scoreboard in left field. It was initially called a home run, but the umpires huddled and ruled it a double that scored Robert Fick from second to make it 5-2.

Armando Benitez then relieved Mitre and struck out Ryan Zimmerman. Kevin Gregg worked a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances.

The Marlins scored all their runs on homers. Chico gave up seven hits in six innings, walking three and striking out five.

“I’d give my performance a shady rating at best,” said Chico, who acknowledged he struggled with location. “At times it was good and at other times it was really erratic.”

After Mike Jacobs led off the sixth with a single, Willingham homered over the left-field scoreboard, his 13th, to stretch Florida’s lead to 5-0. It was Willingham’s first home run this season off a left-handed pitcher.

“I just got a good pitch and got good wood on it,” Willingham said. “It was nice to get (Mitre) some early runs and let him go out there and get into his routine and get those groundballs.”

Hermida led off the second inning with his ninth home run, a shot to right that gave the Marlins a 3-0 lead.

Florida went ahead 2-0 in the first on Cabrera’s two-run drive to right-center. It was Cabrera’s 19th home run of the season and it broke a 13-inning scoreless streak for Chico.

Washington scored in the seventh when Austin Kearns drove in Zimmerman with a sacrifice fly.

“Mitre did a tremendous job,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “His sinker really had some bite to it.”


Cabrera’s home run was his 123rd, moving him past Gary Sheffield and into third place on the Marlins’ career list. Only Derrek Lee (129) and Mike Lowell (143) are ahead of Cabrera. … Chico is the only Nationals starter to begin 2007 in the rotation and not miss a turn.

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