Soriano avenges blown save, Nats beat Marlins

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- This time, Rafael Soriano got the best of Giancarlo Stanton.
The Washington Nationals closer, who blew a save when he allowed Stanton's 434-foot, ninth-inning homer on Saturday night, came back less than 24 hours later and got the job done.
Soriano got his 25th save, and Denard Span's RBI double sparked a three-run rally in the 10th inning as the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 5-2 Sunday afternoon at Marlins Park.
Stanton, who came up with one runner on and two out on Sunday, grounded out to first base for the game's final out.
"I was just thankful (Stanton) wasn't the tying run," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "But I thought it was fitting that this game ended that way."
In the top of the 10th, Span's double over the head of Marcell Ozuna one-hopped the wall in center field, driving home Ian Desmond from first base. Wilson Ramos then drove in Span with a single.
The runs came off Marlins' closer Steve Cishek, who had not allowed a run in his past 17 2/3 innings, posting 12 saves, two wins and just one walk during that span.
"I threw a couple of easy sliders down the middle of the plate," said a disappointed Cishek. "I really wanted to finish the first half of the season strong."
Chad Tracy, facing Dan Jennings, capped the rally with a run-scoring double off the wall in right field.
Span finished the game 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs.
"We hit a bunch of balls hard," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I liked how it felt, but we have a lot of work to do in the second half. We're a good club. We just need to play like it."
It was the second straight extra-inning game between the teams, and the win allowed the Nationals (48-47) to finish their dismal road trip with a 2-5 record.
The Marlins (36-57), who had their three-game win streak snapped, have the worst record in the National League. But since May 31, they are 22-17, which is among the three best records in the NL during that span.
The Nationals scored the game's first run. Adam LaRoche led off the second with a single and scored on Span's double to right-center, barely beating the relay throw home.
The Marlins had a rally going in the second after Ozuna led off with a single and Derek Dietrich apparently doubled down the first-base line, putting runners on second and third. But the plate umpire ruled that Dietrich's hit was foul. Dietrich then struck out, and after Adeiny Hechavarria singled, the Nationals escaped unharmed when Greg Dobbs bounced into a double play.
Miami nearly scored again in the third after Stanton's two-out single loaded the bases. But Placido Polanco took too wide a turn at second base, leading to Jeff Mathis getting caught in a rundown between third and home.
In the fourth, it was the Nationals' turn to run themselves out of scoring chances. Jayson Werth led off with a single to the right-field corner but was thrown out by Stanton at second.
Stanton had tried to make a diving catch and actually threw Werth out while on the ground.
"That's pretty good arm strength from his knees by Stanton -- he should be a catcher," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond, who is a former catcher.
The inning ended when Desmond -- trying to score from second on a single to shallow right by pitcher Taylor Jordan -- was thrown out at the plate by Stanton.
For the inning, Stanton had two assists and one putout on a line drive by Ramos.
The Marlins then took the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run homer to right by Dietrich, his ninth of the year.
Washington tied the score 2-2 when Bryce Harper drew a two-out walk and sped home on Anthony Rendon's double to left.
Harper, who finished the first half with a .264 batting average, .371 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 29 RBI, was asked to assess his season so far.
"I thought it was terrible," said Harper, who said he did enjoy batting leadoff on Sunday. "I don't think I did very well. Hopefully, in the second half I can play a lot better."
NOTES: Marlins first-round pick Colin Moran starts his pro career Monday at Class A Greensboro (N.C.). On Saturday, he hit a homer and numerous line drives as he took batting practice with the big-leaguers. ... Another top Marlins prospect, Christian Yelich, doubled in his first Futures Game at-bat Sunday, one-hopping the center-field wall at New York's Citi Field. Moran at third and Yelich in left could soon be two big pieces to the Marlins' big-league puzzle. ... The Nationals have set their rotation for after the All-Star break. Stephen Strasburg will pitch Friday against the visiting Dodgers, followed by Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman and Dan Haren. ... The Marlins have not fully set their rotation but have announced that Jacob Turner will pitch Friday in Milwaukee. Jose Fernandez will pitch July 23. ... The FOX telecast missed Stanton's dramatic ninth-inning homer on Saturday night because they switched to the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial.

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