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Marlins 8, Nationals 2

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins, who have struggled to score all season, got a season high in runs, defeating the Washington Nationals 8-2 Tuesday night before an announced crowd of 16,200 at Marlins Park.

The Nationals (8-6) were without star outfielder Bryce Harper and leadoff batter Denard Span, who both are battling the flu. Second baseman Danny Espinosa (sore wrist) was already out, which means the Nationals had only two hitters on their bench: catcher Jhonatan Solano and infielder Chad Tracy.

The Marlins, who started the day with the worst record in baseball, improved to 3-11. In fact, when they took a 4-0 lead in the fourth, it was just the fifth game in which they have had an advantage this season. The Marlins are 3-2 in those games.

Miami was led Tuesday by Justin Ruggiano and Adeiny Hechavarria, who had three RBI each. Juan Pierre had three hits and two runs scored.

Dan Haren (1-2) took the loss. He entered the game with a 9.00 ERA, but the Marlins have been the team slumping pitchers love to face this season. After all, the Marlins had scored just 23 runs in their first 13 games.

But after sailing through three shutout innings, Haren gave up four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. He left after one out in the fifth, and his ERA actually decreased to 8.10 -- a sign of how ineffective he has been this year.

The win went to Alex Sanabia (2-1), who allowed just two runs in six innings. He gave up consecutive run-scoring doubles to Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi in the sixth but was otherwise outstanding.

The Marlins took a 4-0 lead in the fourth. The rally started with one out, when third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's throwing error put Placido Polanco on first. Polanco went to third on a single by Greg Dobbs and scored on a single to left by Justin Ruggiano.

After Rob Brantly grounded out, Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria hit a three-run homer to left, estimated at 416 feet, and Hechavarria collected his first RBI of the season.

The Marlins added to their advantage with a three-run fifth. Singles by pitcher Alex Sanabia, leadoff batter Juan Pierre and Polanco loaded the bases for Dobbs, who got an RBI with a walk. Ruggiano then stroked a two-run double down the third-base line to make it 7-0.

NOTES: Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (sore shoulder) took batting practice Tuesday, but his return date is still uncertain. Manager Mike Redmond hinted Stanton could be back for the team's next road trip, which begins Thursday in Cincinnati. ... Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond entered Tuesday with nine extra-base hits, which tied the Reds' Brandon Phillips and the A's Jed Lowrie for the major-league lead among middle infielders. Desmond had six doubles, one triple and two homers. ... The Marlins' odds to win the World Series are an astronomical 300-1, which is what happens when a team cuts its payroll from $118 million to $45 million. That $73 million cut is the biggest in major-league history. ... Entering play Tuesday, Polanco ranked second in the majors by putting 66.2 percent of his swings in play. The contact hitter had swung and missed just twice. Pierre ranked fifth at 58.2 percent. The Giants' Marco Scutaro led the majors at 70.3 percent, but even he had swung and missed one more time than Polanco. ... Entering Tuesday, the Nationals' Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos led all major-league catching groups with a .458 on-base percentage. ... Zimmerman has homered in a Jordan Zimmermann win six times.
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