Nationals complete sweep of Marlins
MIAMI — Ryan Zimmerman just kept running.
The Washington Nationals first baseman scored from first on a first-inning Howie Kendrick double. And after crossing home plate, Zimmerman just kept sprinting, into the dugout tunnel at Marlins Park.
That’s fitting for the Nationals, who haven’t stopped running past the competition all season.
On Wednesday night, Zimmerman also slugged his 31st homer and Gio Gonzalez won his 14th game as Washington swept the Miami Marlins with a 8-1 win.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker saw Zimmerman sprint into the dugout and said he was just glad he didn’t get hurt. And Zimmerman acknowledged it wasn’t his brightest idea ever.
“I could’ve stopped,” Zimmerman said. “I kept going ... might as well do something stupid.”
If so, that was the only dumb thing Zimmerman did on a night in which he went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs.
The first-place Nationals (85-54) increased their division lead over the second-place Marlins (67-72) to 18 games. The Nationals have won eight straight games in their series against Miami.
Against all competition, Miami has lost four games in a row and nine of its past 10. And the only run Miami scored on Wednesday came on an RBI groundout by Miguel Rojas in the bottom of the ninth.
“It’s been awhile now,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of his team’s slump. “It’s been like 10 days of this. I wish I had an answer for it, but I honestly don’t.”
Gonzalez (14-6, 2.50 ERA) pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks while pitching out of several jams. Gonzalez leads the majors in batting average allowed with runners in scoring position.
“He’s like Houdini out there,” Baker said.
A native of Miami Dade County, Gonzalez is 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA against the Marlins this year. For his career against the Marlins, he is 10-3 with a 1.85 ERA.
Gonzalez is now 81-0, with 21 no-decisions, when he gets four or more runs in support.
Unlike previous times when Gonzalez has pitched in Miami, his family was not at Marlins Park for this game. In fact, there were few fans of anyone at the game.
With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Miami and due to arrive by this weekend, there were less than 800 fans at Marlins Park at first pitch.
“Yes, you want fans here,” Gonzalez said. “But at the same time, we prefer they be cautious, and safe and prepare for what’s coming.”
Miami rookie Dillon Peters (0-1), who pitched seven scoreless innings against the last-place Philadelphia Phillies last week in his major-league debut, was not as good against the first-place Nationals. He lasted just five innings and allowed six hits, two walks and three runs. He struck out six.
“They were coming ready to swing at the fastball,” Peters said of Washington, “and I left a lot over the plate.”
Washington opened the scoring with two runs in the first. Trea Turner hit a leadoff single, advanced on an Anthony Rendon walk and scored on Zimmerman’s single. The Nationals made it 2-0 on Kendrick’s RBI double.
Zimmerman led off the fourth with a homer to center to give Washington a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Miami used two walks and a single to load the bases with no outs. But J.T. Realmuto lined out to shortstop, and Gonzalez struck out Tyler Moore and rookie Brian Anderson to end the threat. Anderson, looking for an RBI walk, was called out looking at a 3-2 fastball down the middle.
Miami threatened again the fifth, getting runners on first and second. But Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the majors with 53 homers, bounced into an inning-ending double play.
After loading the bases with no outs, Washington doubled its lead to 6-0 in the sixth. The RBI sent to Jayson Werth (sacrifice fly), Jose Lobaton (walk) and Adam Lind (groundout).
Taylor, who like Gonzalez is from south Florida, made it 7-0 with his 14th homer, a solo shot in the eighth, and Rendon had an RBI single in the ninth.
“It’s been hectic trying to get everything situated for myself and my family,” Taylor said of the impending arrival of Irma. “But I’m kind of glad I’m here, close to home. It gives me a chance to help out before I leave.”
NOTES: Marlins OF Ichiro Suzuki got his 25th pinch hit, three short of John Vander Wal’s major-league season record set in 1995. ... In terms of multi-hit games this year, the Marlins have four of the top 11 batters in the National League: LF Marcell Ozuna (second), 2B Dee Gordon (fourth), CF Christian Yelich (sixth) and RF Giancarlo Stanton (11th). ... Washington entered with three of the top five starters in the majors in terms of ERA: Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Stasburg. ... Miami opens a four-game series at the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. ... Washington returns home Thursday to open a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.