WASHINGTON – For eight innings, the script against the Washington Nationals was all too familiar for Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins. In the ninth, they attempted to homer their way into a re-write before an extra-inning throwing error left them with an unhappy ending.
One day after being shutout in a two-run loss, the Marlins failed to score over eight innings against Stephen Strasburg and two Nationals relievers. Left fielder Logan Morrison's two-run homer in the ninth inning changed their fortune but first baseman Gaby Sanchez's errant throw to second base in the 10th set up Ian Desmond's game-winning sacrifice fly as the Washington Nationals won 3-2 on Saturday.
Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez kept his side close, allowing two solo homers.
"Seemed like a rewind of the movie from last night's game," Guillen said. "Exactly the same game. Two home runs, very good pitching, very great pitching...Lot of competition, lot of fight. Unfortunately we lost both."
Reliever Edward Mujica (0-1) came on in the ninth inning and gave up the winning run in the 10th. After Wilson Ramos singled to center. Pinch-hitter Adam LaRoche grounded to first, but Gaby Sanchez's throw to second was high, putting Ramos on third.
"If I catch the ball, we make a double play," said shortstop Jose Reyes. "I think I take my eyes of the ball at the last moment."
Desmond's fly ball to center was deep enough to score Ramos, ending the game.
Nationals closer Brad Lidge gave up a ninth-inning leadoff walk to Hanley Ramirez and then Morrison crushed a home run into the second deck in right to tie the game. Lidge walked two other batters before getting out of the inning.
Nationals reliever Tom Gorzelanny (1-0) pitched the 10th inning for the win.
Strasburg allowed four hits, walked one and struck out six over six scoreless innings in his fourth start of the season. Strasburg extended a scoreless streak by Washington's starting pitchers to 16 innings and lowered his ERA to 1.08 in his second outing of the year without allowing a run.
Anibal Sanchez threw seven innings and for much of the game looked even stronger than Strasburg, holding the Nationals to two hits over the first five innings before giving up two late home runs. The Marlins' righthander allowed five hits and struck out eight without walking a batter
"Awesome, great performance," Guillen said of his starter's effort. "We're just pitching against good one's too."
Desmond broke the scoreless tie with his solo home run to left field.
Werth gave the Nationals an insurance run with his own solo shot in the seventh. It was Werth's first homer of the year and broke a 0 for 11 slump.
The Marlins had runners in scoring position each inning from the fourth to sixth but were unable to push a run across on Strasburg.
The biggest threat came in the fourth. Reyes led off with a double down the left field line and moved to third on Emilio Bonifacio's sacrifice, but was left stranded on Ramirez's sharp groundout to second and Morrison's short pop to left.
Reyes doubled again with one out in the sixth and Strasburg walked Ramirez with two outs before Morrison grounded out to end the inning.
"I came up twice with runners on and didn't come through," Morrison said. "Yeah, I hit the home run in the ninth, but if I got those guys in before that we might not even be talking about (the comeback). It might be a win."
The Marlins finished 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
"I'll take my chances with this ball club," Guillen said. "We're pitching well. We're going to hit, we're going to do the little things. Things will come around for us. We've been playing good baseball so far. Just keep playing."
NOTES: In 17 previous games against Washington, Sanchez was 7-0 with a 2.06 ERA .It was Strasburg's 21st career start and fifth against the Marlins. He hasn't faced any other team more than twice. Marlins RHP Josh Johnson (0-2, 5.94 ERA) will face Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 2.04 ERA) in the final of the three-game series Sunday.