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Nationals find relief in win over Marlins

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals' bullpen has had its share of rough patches this season, as is the case for many teams. Former closer Drew Storen was sent down to the minors and Rafael Soriano, the current closer, gave up a game-winning homer in the last inning of the previous homestand.

But on Tuesday night the bullpen of Tanner Roark, Storen, Tyler Clippard and Soriano allowed just one hit while fanning six and walking two in four shutout innings as the Nationals beat the Florida Marlins, 2-1.

"Collectively as a team we played well," said Roark, who was called up from Triple-A Syracuse a few weeks ago. "It was a team win."

Clippard came on in the eighth and struck out Giancarlo Stanton, a Washington nemesis who has 16 homers against the Nationals since 2010.

"We feel like we are playing good baseball," said Clippard, who lowered his ERA to 1.97. "We feel very confident in how we are playing."

Ross Ohlendorf (3-0) earned the win for the Nationals.

Soriano, who had struggled in recent outings, pitched the ninth, gave up a two-out single to Justin Ruggiano but earned his 34th save.

The Nationals (66-65) made a two-run first inning stand up and are back above .500 for the first time since July 14, when they beat the Marlins in Miami. Washington has won seven of 11 while the Marlins (49-81) have lost eight of their last 11 and officially will not have a winning season.

"I thought we had a couple of opportunities to score," said Marlins' manager Mike Redmond. "They put on the two runs in the first and that was it. We kind have seen this story before. We are not getting a lot of breaks. Hopefully these guys are getting tired of getting out (at the plate). It has got to get old."

Starter and loser Nathan Eovaldi (2-5) went six innings for the Marlins. He gave up two runs and eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. He has gone at least six innings in 11 of 13 starts this season, but lost his fifth straight decision.

"I feel comfortable. I usually run into some trouble in the first inning it seems. I felt good and I felt like I located my pitches for the most part. They just put the ball in play and got some hits," Eovaldi said.

Desmond, who drove in the eventual game winner in the first, had three hits and Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche had two for the Nationals.

Washington began the day eight games back of Cincinnati for the second wild-card spot in the National League.

"I still think we are in a pennant drive," Johnson said. "Now is the time."

The Nationals play their next 18 games against the Marlins, Mets and Phillies -- teams that began Tuesday a combined 55 games under .500.

The Nationals scored all they would need in the first on an RBI groundout by Jayson Werth and a run-scoring hit by Desmond.

Ohlendorf, in his fourth start of the season, retired the first nine batters before working out of trouble in the fourth inning.

Christian Yelich led off with a clean single and the Marlins loaded the bases, before Ohlendorf retired Justin Ruggiano on a fielder's choice to end the threat.

The Marlins put up their lone run of the game thanks to Yelich, who belted a leadoff home run in the sixth to make the score 2-1. Ohlendorf was lifted after just 78 pitches in favor of rookie reliever Roark.

NOTES: The Nationals announced prior to the game they had recalled RHP Ryan Mattheus from Triple-A Syracuse and sent LHP Xavier Cedeno back to the Chiefs ... Marlins third baseman Placido Polanco was reinstated after spending seven days on the DL with a concussion. He was hitting .253 in 312 plate appearances heading into Tuesday's game. ... CF Chris Coghlan, born in nearby Montgomery County, Maryland, was sent to Triple-A Calgary on his rehab schedule, according to Redmond. He is hitting .277 in 130 at-bats with one homer for the Marlins. "From what I have heard things are going well," said Redmond, who added Coghlan will rejoin the Marlins Sept. 1 when rosters expand. ... Washington left-hander Ross Detwiler, who has been on the DL since July 7 (retroactive to July 4) with a back strain, might not pitch again this season. "Probably not. He has been out so long," Johnson said. "In the next day or two I will know more." Detwiler is 2-7 with an ERA of 4.04 in 13 starts.
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