WASHINGTON — Miami Marlins rookie reliever Kyle Barraclough will quickly earn the trust of his manager with escapes like the one he pulled Friday night.
Entering in the sixth inning with the bases loaded, no outs and a two-run lead, the 25-year-old right-hander conceded only a sacrifice fly, helping Miami hold on for a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.
"I learned he has no fear," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said of Barraclough after his ninth major league outing. "To see him challenge with his stuff — trust his stuff — the way he has, has been really remarkable."
Martin Prado and Marcell Ozuna homered off Washington starter Max Scherzer, and Adam Conley (2-1) gave up three runs and six hits over five-plus innings in his fifth big league start.
Scherzer (11-11) went seven innings, allowing four runs and six hits and retired the last 12 batters he faced after Ozuna's home run led off the fourth. The Nationals' ace struck out eight without a walk, but he allowed multiple home runs for a third time in four starts.
"He's aggressive," said Prado, who had two hits against the right-hander to improve to 8 for 16 against him in his career. "When you know that he's trying to attack you, that's when you have to be aggressive. There's been a couple times when he's made real good pitches and I just swing, and I get a hit."
A.J. Ramos picked up his 23rd save.
With Miami leading 4-2, it appeared Washington might give Scherzer the lead back in the sixth, when Jayson Werth doubled, Anthony Rendon singled and Bryce Harper walked with no outs, bringing Jennings to the mound to swap rookies.
"When I kind of get into trouble, the leash is a lot shorter," said Conley, whose first extended big league stint began on Aug. 1. "Because up here, it's about winning."
In came Barraclough, who induced Ryan Zimmerman into a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3, struck out Ian Desmond, and after walking Danny Espinosa, got enough of his glove on Wilson Ramos' line shot to turn it into a 1-4-3 putout to end the inning.
"I thought I'd caught it at first, too," Barraclough said. "I kind of looked in my glove at first and didn't know where it was and kind of panicked. (I) saw (second baseman) Dee (Gordon) had it, and was, 'OK, Good.' Sometimes you've got to get lucky."
His ERA dropped to 0.84.
Miami went ahead with two outs in the first when Prado singled and scored on Derek Dietrich's double.
Desmond's 15th homer of the year tied it in the second.
Prado's two-run shot into the Nationals' bullpen made it 3-1 in the third, and Ozuna added his solo blast to center in the fourth, before Ramos' solo homer for Washington made it 4-2 in the fifth.
Jennings said before the game he hoped his team would enjoy the opportunity to play the role of spoiler down the stretch, and after his third outing of the season against a contending team, Barraclough agreed.
"The stadium's amped up. It's definitely fun to play in that environment," he said. "It's what everyone I think — since we've been playing this game since we were younger — dreams of playing in."
Marlins: LF Christian Yelich (right ankle, right knee) was out of the lineup for a second straight game and is day-to-day. ... After allowing four runs in five-plus innings with Class A Jupiter on Thursday, RHP Jarred Cosart (inner ear) could make his next rehab start elsewhere amid concerns about Tropical Storm Erica's path, Jennings said.
Miami RHP Tom Koehler (8-12, 3.98) is looking for his first win since July 23. He is 3-5 with a 4.28 ERA in eight career starts against Washington. Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.54) has won his last two starts despite allowing eight earned runs and 17 hits over 11 2-3 innings.