Three relievers each gave up an extra-base hit in a seventh-inning meltdown Sunday, and the Washington Nationals' streak of 11 consecutive wins against the Miami Marlins ended with a 5-3 loss that tightened the NL wild-card race.
Hunter Strickland and Wander Suero allowed two runs apiece in the seventh, and Tanner Rainey gave up an RBI triple by Starlin Castro as the Marlins rallied from a 3-1 deficit to take a 5-3 lead.
Washington began the day atop the wild-card race, one game ahead of the Brewers and four in front of the Cubs.
The bullpen collapse came against the Nationals' favorite foils. Miami averted a three-game sweep and finished 4-15 against Washington this year.
Austin Dean started the Marlins' comeback by leading off the seventh with his fifth homer against Strickland. Following a hit batsman and a walk, Jon Berti hit a two-run double off Suero to put Miami ahead, and Castro's hit capped the rally.
Washington starting pitcher Austin Voth drove in a run with a single for his first major league hit and left after five innings with a 3-1 lead. The Nationals have lost his past four starts.
Jeff Brigham, helped when left fielder Harold Ramirez robbed Adam Eaton of a hit, pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save. Starter Pablo Lopez allowed three runs in five innings and remained winless since June 15, before he was sidelined for more than two months by a shoulder injury.
The Nationals started the game with three consecutive singles to take a 1-0 lead, but a nifty 3-6-1 double play helped Lopez escape further damage.
Washington finished 43-38 on the road.