MIAMI — The Washington Nationals took an early lead. Then they rallied from behind. In the end, they came up a little short — again.
Bryce Harper drove in two runs and Jordan Zimmermann bounced back from two shaky starts with a strong showing, but the Nationals lost to the Miami Marlins 3-2 Friday night.
Six of the Nationals' 10 defeats this season have been by one or two runs.
"It's not fun, especially in dogfights like that," Harper said. "Jordan threw such a great game, he should have been able to win that game. It's rough for us, but we'll keep plugging."
The Nationals, beginning a 10-game trip, lost their third straight.
Martin Prado broke a tie with an eighth-inning single, and four pitchers combined on a six-hitter for Miami. The Marlins, starting a nine-game homestand, won their third in a row after a 3-11 start.
Zimmermann, who no-hit the Marlins the last time he faced them on the final day of the 2014 regular season, allowed six hits and two runs in six innings. It was an improvement over his past two starts, when he gave up a total of 13 runs and lost both games.
Zimmermann had thrown only 79 pitches when manager Matt Williams pinch-hit for him with two on and the score tied in the seventh.
"You've got guys on first and second, and anybody in our lineup is a better hitter than me," Zimmermann said. "I'm fine with the move."
Pinch-hitter Clint Robinson struck out, and Washington didn't score.
"We tried to take advantage of an opportunity," Williams said. "It just didn't happen for us."
Tanner Roark (0-2) gave up Miami's go-ahead run in the eighth. Adeiny Hechavarria doubled to start the inning against Roark and advanced on an infield single by Dee Gordon. Prado followed with a single off Aaron Barrett.
Prado also made a diving stop of a sharp grounder at third base to rob Yunel Escobar of a hit leading off the ninth.
The Nationals led 1-0, trailed 2-1 and tied it at 2-all. Harper drove in their runs with a sacrifice fly and a two-out single.
But the Nationals went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Marlins starter Mat Latos had his best outing of the season, allowing two runs in 6 1-3 innings. Latos, a .118 career batter, also hit a two-out RBI single in the fifth for Miami's first run.
"Going up against a great pitcher like Zimmermann, you know you're not going to get a lot," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "But we battled him and matched the zeros and gave ourselves a chance."
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Ian Desmond doubled, went to third on a flyout and came home on Harper's sac fly. Harper hit an RBI single in the sixth to make it 2-all.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer is expected to make his next start as scheduled even though he jammed his pitching hand while batting Sunday. " His thumb is a little swollen," Williams said. "All indications are that he should be all right. Needless to say, he won't be hitting in between starts."
Marlins: Backup catcher Jeff Mathis (broken right hand) is scheduled to get a follow-up X-ray next Friday.
RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to pitch Saturday for the Nationals against RHP Tom Koehler (1-2, 6.75). Strasburg is 3-4 with a 5.59 ERA in seven starts at Marlins Park.