Botched rundown costly for Nationals as they lose to Marlins, 6-2, completing 3-game sweep



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MIAMI — Gio Gonzalez faulted himself. Jayson Werth said the culprit was a lack of timely hits. Matt Williams blamed a botched rundown involving catcher Wilson Ramos.

And Ramos wasn't talking.

The Washington Nationals did plenty wrong Sunday against the Miami Marlins, who completed a three-game sweep by winning, 6-2.

The defending NL East champion Nationals (7-12) lost their fifth game in a row — their longest skid since July 2013 — and fell behind Miami into fourth place in the division.

"We surely didn't want to start like this," said Bryce Harper, who hit his fifth homer. "We're a great team, and we'll get it going."

The mishandled rundown kept the fourth inning alive for the Marlins, and Adeiny Hechavarria took advantage by hitting a bases-loaded triple off Gonzalez (1-2).

When Giancarlo Stanton tried to score from second base on an infield single with two outs, he got hung up 30 feet from the plate. Ramos chased him all the way back to third, pumping but never throwing, and Stanton made an awkward headfirst dive and then crawled to the bag.

The bizarre sequence loaded the bases, and the Nationals — who rank last in the majors in fielding — paid for their mistake when Hechavarria tripled to put Miami ahead, 3-1.

Ramos declined to talk to reporters.

"I don't know why Willie didn't give the ball up, but he decided not to," Williams said. "The big inning was the result of us not executing."

Gonzalez declined to fault Ramos.

"It happens in baseball," Gonzalez said. "As a starting pitcher, you have to go out there and minimize the damage, and obviously I didn't do that. I have to make a better pitch to Hechavarria. You have to make the adjustment. That's all me."

Gonzalez allowed 10 hits and six runs in five innings, hiking his ERA to 5.01. The left-hander had won his past five starts against Miami, his hometown team.

The three-game sweep was the first for Miami against Washington since May 2012. Last year the Nationals went 13-6 against the Marlins.

"It seems like every time we make a mistake, it turns into something that costs us," Werth said.

Lack of offense is an issue, too. Werth went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and is batting .171. Ian Desmond struck out four times. Ryan Zimmerman went 0 for 3 and is at .205.

"We just have to get a timely hit or get something going offensively," Werth said. "I just feel like we're a little flat."

The Marlins, meanwhile, have won five in a row after a 3-11 start.

Stanton hit an RBI triple off the top lip of the center field wall, reached on an infield single and scored twice. Miami hit three triples in a game for the first time since 2000.

Dee Gordon, who came into the game leading the NL with 28 hits, had four singles for Miami and raised his average to .390. Ichiro Suzuki had two hits, including an RBI single, and is batting .304.

Miami outhit Washington 14-4.

Dan Haren (2-1) needed 91 pitches to get through five innings but allowed only two runs, including the sixth homer he has given up in 24 innings this year.

ROOF CLOSED

The Marlins' retractable roof hasn't been open since their rain-delay gaffe opening day. It was closed Sunday not because of rain, but because of heat — 94 degrees at game time.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals RHP Max Scherzer will likely be scratched from his next scheduled start Tuesday at Atlanta, Williams said. Scherzer tested his right thumb by throwing off flat ground and said it's still sore. He jammed it batting Thursday.

"We'll probably have to make an adjustment," Williams said. "I don't anticipate him missing more than one turn."

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Doug Fister (1-0, 2.37) starts Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Atlanta against Eric Stults (0-1, 4.50).

Marlins: RHP Jarred Cosart (1-1, 3.63) starts Monday when they begin a three-game series against the Mets and Dillon Gee (0-1, 5.60). The Mets swept Miami in a four-game series a week ago.

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