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Marlins pull out 2-1 win over Nationals in 10 innings

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Even though there were only a combined total of three runs scored -- and two came after the eighth inning -- the Miami Marlins' 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday had some riveting moments from star players.

Among the highlights: Bryce Harper crushed a catcher, and Giancarlo Stanton did the same to a fastball.

However, the eventual hero was a relative lightweight: Marlins third baseman Ed Lucas hit a fielder's choice to drive in the winning run in the 10th inning at Marlins Park.

"It was pretty exciting," said Marlins rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was on the hook for the loss until Stanton's homer in the ninth. "This was fun to watch. I love this team. Whoever doesn't like it, I don't mind. This is my team."

The Marlins started their winning rally when Adeiny Hechavarria led off the 10th by grounding to third baseman Chad Tracy, who threw over the head of first baseman Adam LaRoche. Hechavarria reached second on the play and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Placido Polanco.

The Nationals intentionally walked Justin Ruggiano to load the bases, but Lucas beat out the Nationals' attempt at an inning-ending double play.

Closer Steve Cishek (3-4) got the win after he escaped a one-out jam -- the Nationals had runners on second and third -- by getting two straight strikeouts in the top of the 10th. Reliever Craig Stammen (4-4) took the loss.

Dan Haren and relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard combined on what had the makings of a three-hit shutout through eight innings.

But the Marlins tied the score when Stanton, leading off the ninth, homered on a 1-2 pitch from Nationals closer Rafael Soriano.

"When (Stanton) made contact, I knew it was a bomb," Fernandez said. "That's the most excited I've been all year."

The homer, Stanton's 10th of the year, was estimated at 434 feet.

"I figured he wasn't going to throw a strike, which that wasn't," Stanton said of his fourth game-tying homer of the season and Soriano's fourth blown save. "I just saw a fastball and reacted to it. I figured it was going to be a slider in the dirt or a fastball up."

Harper was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a Strike 3 call. Reliever Ryan Webb's pitch was up a bit and toward the outside corner but did not appear to be a miss by umpire Harry Wendelstedt.

It was the second time Harper struck out looking in the game; he also drew a walk.

"He called it a strike, and I wasn't going to take it," Harper said. "So I gave him a piece of mind and got out what I wanted to get out, and he threw me out.

"If I would have seen another pitch, then it's 2-2. Who knows? I might get a base hit or it gives me an opportunity to hit a homer. He took the bat out of my hands."

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said Harper made a mistake by getting thrown out, especially since his replacement, Scott Hairston, was one of the batters Cishek struck out in the ninth.

"You've got to have to have your three-hole hitter in the game right there," Desmond said. "Sometimes you've got to bite your tongue. We all get bad calls.

"I think (Harper) may or may not realize the ramifications of being ejected, but hopefully he'll learn from it and move forward."

The Nationals are 1-5 on a trip that ends Sunday in Miami.

Haren, who entered the game with a 6.00 ERA, allowed just three hits -- all singles -- and one walk in six shutout innings. He struck out seven in easily his best game of the season.

Fernandez, the Marlins' lone All-Star, allowed four hits, three walks and one run in six innings. He finished the first half of his season with a 2.75 ERA.

Harper, known for his power, created a run in the fourth based primarily on his speed.

He led off the inning with a walk and, on LaRoche's single to left, charged halfway past second base. Baited by Harper, left fielder Justin Ruggiano threw behind him, which allowed the left fielder to scamper to third.

With one out, Jayson Werth lifted a fly to shallow center. Marcell Ozuna charged in and made a strong throw that beat Harper, who was tagging up on the play. But catcher Jeff Mathis could not handle the short hop, probably influenced by the 230-pound Harper running him over a fraction of a second later.

NOTES: The Marlins promoted RHP Tom Koehler from Triple-A. He replaces RHP Chad Qualls, who left the team after Friday's game on paternity leave and will return after the All-Star break. ... Nationals LHP Ross Detwiler (back injury) is set to begin throwing side sessions this weekend and hopes to return by July 23. ... Nationals RHP Ryan Mattheus, out since May with a broken hand, began a minor-league rehab stint on Friday. He struck out the side in a scoreless inning. ... Marlins OF Austin Kearns, out since May 3 due to a serious but unspecified family issue, is unlikely to return this year. ... Marlins OF Chris Coghlan (calf injury) has been cleared to practice, but it may take several weeks before he returns.
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