Justin Bour hadn’t had a hit all season.
OK, the season is in its infancy, only three games old.
But the Marlins’ first baseman said he was feeling his 0-for-10 slump with every at-bat, which is why he was more than pleased to end it with the deciding hit in Thursday night’s 4-3 victory over the Nationals.
Bour’s two-out RBI double in the 10th inning helped the Marlins avoid a season-opening series sweep and allowed them to train up to New York on a happy note.
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“We didn’t want to get on that train tonight to New York with no wins,” Bour said.
Thanks to three timely two-out hits, the Marlins squeaked out the win over the Nationals. J.T. Realmuto hit a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth, Tyler Moore came through with another game-tying pinch hit with two outs in the ninth and Bour saved his first hit for last.
“To be honest, the beginning of the series did not go as planned for me,” Bour said. “You want to get that first hit out of the way, and it took longer than I wanted it to.”
Thursday’s game was one of delays and interruptions brought on by rain showers, including a 1-hour, 20-minute delay to start the game.
Marlins workhorse Tom Koehler turned in five strong innings, allowing only a first-inning solo homer to Adam Eaton, before coming out for good when rain hit for a second time and caused a 63-minute delay in the middle of the sixth.
It was slow going early for Marlins hitters, who were unable to figure out Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. The Hialeah native held the Marlins scoreless for six innings before the second delay brought about his departure as well.
Not long after play resumed, the Marlins’ Kyle Barraclough did something he’s never done in the seventh inning. He gave up a home run to a right-handed hitter, Jayson Werth. It was the first home run hit off Barraclough by a right-handed hitter in 180 at-bats and it provided the Nationals with a 2-0 lead.
But it didn’t hold up.
The Marlins were trailing 2-0 going into the eighth when Realmuto connected on a two-out, game-tying homer off Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley.
But their moment of joy was short-lived.
Ryan Zimmerman put the Nationals on top in the bottom of the eighth when he smacked a two-out homer off Junichi Tazawa.
The Marlins tied it once more on Moore’s two-out, pinch-hit single in the ninth. Moore spent four seasons with the Nationals and has struggled as a pinch-hitter throughout his career.
But he had two pinch hits in the series, none bigger than the one Thursday off Nationals closer Blake Treinen. With the count 2-2 and the Marlins down to their last strike, Moore singled up the middle to score Adeiny Hechavarria.
“It’s awesome,” Moore said. “I love those guys over there. But right now I’m with the Marlins. When I’m on the field against them, I want to beat ’em.”
In the 10th, Realmuto reached on a two-out single before Bour lashed an opposite-field double into the left-field corner. Realmuto raced home from first with the go-ahead run.
“Big hits late,” Realmuto said.
A.J. Ramos worked the bottom of the 10th for his first save of the season.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Derek Dietrich is a human punching bag who rarely reacts or flinches whenever he’s hit by a pitch. And he gets hit often. But Dietrich took a stand when he felt he was plunked once too many on Wednesday.
Dietrich took offense with Enny Romero, a former minor-league teammate, when the Nationals reliever hit him with a fastball in the seventh inning. For Dietrich, who was struck by a Tanner Roark pitch earlier in the game, it was a tipping point.
“I wasn’t pleased getting hit there,” said Dietrich, who had words with Romero as he made his way to first. “I know it’s part of my game. But I’m trying to send a message that we’re not going to let it fly.”
Dietrich led all National League players last season in number of times being hit by pitches with 24. But Dietrich felt Nationals pitchers were going too far. They hit three Marlins batters on Wednesday and one in Monday’s season opener.
Romero, who was Dietrich’s teammate in Tampa Bay’s farm system in 2011 and ’12, had never even hit a batter in 80 major-league innings before Wednesday.
“It was the second time in the game,” Dietrich said. “I’d had enough getting the ball inside like that. We’ve got to take charge of that inner half, and we will.”
The episode involving Dietrich led to the prompt ejection of manager Don Mattingly, who was incensed when home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa issued warnings to each team.
“We got hit three times and we got a warning,” Mattingly said. “Didn’t seem quite right. I didn’t quite understand that.”
▪ The Marlins have changed the start times for two home games: May 27 against the Angels and June 3 against the Diamondbacks. Both Saturday games will start at 4:10 p.m.
▪ Friday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-5, 4.96 ERA in 2016) at New York Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (Missed 2016), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.
▪ Saturday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (8-6, 3.85) at Mets RHP Robert Gsellman (0-0, 0.00), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.