Fish Can't Complete Comeback in DC

Marlins strand eight in 5-4 loss

WASHINGTON — Cristian Guzman and the Washington Nationals are starting to get used to winning, even the tight ones.

Guzman fell a home run shy of the cycle, Adam Dunn homered in his third straight game and the Nationals tied a season high with their fourth straight win, 5-4 over the Marlins on Wednesday night.
Ryan Zimmerman and Ronnie Belliard also homered for the Nationals, who have won 10 of 16. Washington has won the first two games of this series after dropping the first nine meetings with Florida this year.

Starting pitcher John Lannan said the Nationals are gaining more confidence. They scored six in the eighth to rally for a 6-4 victory in Tuesday’s game.

“We definitely wouldn’t have won these last two games earlier in the season,” Lannan said. “Our attitude’s changed, and it’s a good sign. We’re finishing this year strong. We know we can compete.”

Guzman finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs. He had an RBI double in the third plus a run-scoring triple in the fourth that gave the Nationals a 5-1 lead.

The Nationals got solid bullpen work from Jorge Sosa and Mike McDougal after Lannan (8-8) escaped several jams to get through six innings. He gave up two runs and eight hits.

Sosa came on in the seventh and, after giving up a two-run single to Dan Uggla that made it 5-4, got the next four batters.

MacDougal then retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his 10th save.

“They’re a very dangerous offensive team, but I think they are most improved pitching-wise,” Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I think their pitching has stabilized a little bit. The bullpen has improved a little bit.”

Uggla hit a solo homer for the Marlins in the second inning and finished with three RBIs. But the Marlins missed on a number of scoring chances, stranding eight.

Nyjer Morgan continued to give the Nationals a spark from the leadoff spot. He went 1 for 2, walked twice, stole two bases and scored two runs. Five of the Nationals’ eight hits went for extra-bases.

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the first when Zimmerman and Dunn homered on consecutive pitches off Florida starter Rick VandenHurk (1-1), who gave up all three homers. Zimmerman sliced a homer just inside the right-field foul pole, and Dunn followed with a long shot to right-center.

Belliard homered leading off the fourth.

“Winning fixes a lot of things,” Dunn said. “We’ve been playing good the last couple of weeks, and hopefully we can continue that the rest of the season.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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