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Nationals 2, Marlins 0

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WASHINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez, who threw 91 pitches, allowed no runs and two hits in six innings and hit a solo home run in the fifth to break a scoreless tie as the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Wednesday night before 26,269 chilly fans at Nationals Park.

Gonzalez hit his homer into the left field seats in his first start of the season after winning 21 games last year.

The Nationals (2-0) made it 2-0 in the seventh as Danny Espinosa reached on an error and later scored on a fielder's choice as Denard Span beat out a grounder in which pinch-runner Roger Bernadina collided with Miami second baseman Donovan Solano as Bernadina was tagged out.

Ryan Zimmerman hit a single up the middle to score Bryce Harper, who led off with a double, to make it 3-0 in the eighth.

Washington pitchers have not allowed a run in the first 18 innings of the season after the Nationals shut out the Marlins 2-0 on Monday.

In Game 2,Gonzalez was replaced in the top of the seventh by Ryan Mattheus, who threw a scoreless inning. Reliever Drew Storen, the victim of the Game 5 loss to the Cardinals last October, came in to start the eighth and retired the Marlins in order.

Washington closer Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth and got his second save in two games despite allowing a single and walk with one out. He got Justin Ruggiano to fly out to center after to end the game.

It was the first victory for Gonzalez over the Marlins (0-2) as a member of the Nationals. He beat the then Florida Marlins, his hometown team, while pitching for Oakland in 2011.

Miami starter Kevin Slowey pitched for Johnson, now the Washington manager, on a U.S. national team that went to Cuba in 2006 and qualified for the 2008 Olympics.

Right-hander Slowey made his Miami debut Wednesday against the Nationals and it was his first Major League appearance since Sept. 26, 2011, for the Twins against Kansas City.

Slowey made eight starts last season for Columbus, the top farm club of the Indians, and was 3-3 with an ERA of 5.14. He got the start Wednesday after two probable starting pitchers were placed on the disabled list Sunday.

NOTES: Marlins first baseman Kotchman is day-to-day with a left hamstring strain after he hit into the double play in the fifth. ... He grabbed the back of his left leg after the play and was replaced by Greg Dobbs. ... The Marlins announced outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and left-hander Scott Maine cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. Infielder Zack Cox also cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A Jacksonville and right-hander Evan Reed was claimed off waivers by Detroit. ... The game time temperature was 45 degrees with temperatures expected to be in the 30s as game progressed. So how do relievers stay warm on a cold night? Nationals right-hander Tyler Clippard said his bullpen mates share a heater behind the right field fence. "Baseball is a warm weather sport. It is in the summer for a reason," said Clippard, who went to J.W. Mitchell High in Trinity, Fla. "It is hard to grip the ball." Right-hander Craig Stammen, another Nats reliever, grew up in Ohio and said he is used to cold weather. "It is part of April. You have to deal with it," he said. ... Slowey had made one previous career start against the Nationals, on June 18, 2008 as he got the win at Minnesota by allowing one run in seven innings in an 11-2 victory.
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