Miami, FL – Mark Buehrle threw seven strong innings to win his fourth consecutive start, and the Marlins held off the Washington Nationals, 2-1, in the second installment of a four-game series.
Carlos Lee and John Buck had RBI singles in support of Buehrle (9-8), who allowed six hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Steve Cishek recorded the final five outs to get his seconds save of the year. Roger Bernadina singled with two outs in the ninth and looked to be tagged out on the helmet by Omar Infante on a steal attempt. Bernadina was called safe, but Jesus Flores fanned on an outside pitch to end the game.
"In a game like this, a must-win game, against the team we're chasing, that's why I tried to give him the opportunity to pitch back into the closer situation. I have to put my best option there," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said of Cishek.
Gio Gonzalez (12-4), who was born and raised in nearby Hialeah, gave up five hits and the two runs while fanning nine over six innings. His four-start winning streak was broken.
Miami snapped a three-game skid, while the NL East-leading Nationals failed to gain momentum after a 5-1 win Friday night.
"We just didn't get the hit when we needed it," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "It was old fashioned National League ball."
Jose Reyes singled to start the bottom of the fourth and moved to second on a bunt before coming home on Lee's sinking line drive to right-center field.
The Nationals tied the game the following innings when Flores singled to left to drive in Ian Desmond. They loaded the bases later in the fifth, but Ryan Zimmerman struck out to end the frame.
The Marlins played small ball again to go in front in the bottom of the inning. Emilio Bonifacio legged out an infield hit, went to second on Donovan Solano's sacrifice bunt, and scored on Buck's line single to right-center.
Bernadina, who came in as a pinch-runner in the seventh, was left at third when Danny Espinosa struck out.
Buehrle has recorded seven-or-more strikeouts in four consecutive starts for the first time in his career...Washington went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position...Miami has won four of the last five meetings.