MIAMI -- Max Scherzer earned his 18th win, and Ryan Zimmerman slugged a three-run homer to lead the Washington Nationals to an 8-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night at Marlins Park.
Scherzer (18-7) struck out eight and was working on a shutout until the seventh, when he gave up a solo homer to the upper deck in right field by Christian Yelich and a two-run, pinch-hit blast by Derek Dietrich.
That was it for Scherzer, who allowed four hits, two walks and three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Washington used four relievers, including closer Mark Melancon, to secure the win. Melancon got the last three outs in a non-save situation.
The first-place Nationals (89-63) snapped a four-game losing streak. With the second-place New York Mets (80-72) losing 4-3 to the Atlanta Braves, Washington tops the National League East by nine games with 10 games remaining.
Miami made three errors and fell to 76-76.
Zimmerman's homer, which came in the fourth inning, was his 15th of the season. Teammate Trea Turner added a solo homer in the seventh, smashing the ball off the scoreboard on a down-the-line shot to left. It was the 12th homer of the year for the rookie.
Miami starter Tom Koehler (9-12) took the loss, allowing two hits, three walks and four runs, three earned, in four innings.
The Marlins virtually handed Washington a run in the third inning. Danny Espinosa walked on a 3-2 count and advanced to second on Scherzer's sacrifice bunt.
Espinosa then scored when Miami made two errors on the same play -- Koehler threw a pickoff attempt into center field, and center fielder Yelich, trying to pick and throw to the plate, bobbled the ball.
Washington made it 4-0 with Zimmerman's two-out home run to left. He hit a hanging curveball from Koehler, who also allowed a single to Bryce Harper and a walk on a 3-2 pitch to Stephen Drew earlier in the inning.
Scherzer started a rally in the fifth with a single to right. Turner then hit a routine grounder to shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who fielded it but flipped it over second baseman Dee Gordon's head for an error. Jayson Werth's single to left gave Washington a 5-0 lead.
NOTES: Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy (sore left leg) sat out his fourth straight start, although he has been used as a pinch hitter during this stretch. ... Nationals rookie OF Brian Goodwin, who recorded one of three hits against the Marlins on Tuesday, is a former Miami Dade College player. ... Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez is 7-0 with a 0.99 ERA in his career against Washington. With a minimum of 10 starts, no pitcher has completed a career with a sub-1.00 ERA against one team. ... In club history, the Marlins have won 10 times in which they hit a homer and prevailed 1-0, including Tuesday's game. The last three times the Miami has done this, it has been against Washington. ... Up next, the Nationals have a weekend series at the Pittsburgh Pirates -- it's their final road trip of the regular season. ... Miami will play host to the Atlanta Braves for four games.