Miami Marlins trail early, fail to catch Washington Nationals

Henderson Alvarez gave up three runs in a testy first inning, and the Marlins’ futility in Washington continued.

09/20/2013 12:01 AM

07/31/2014 5:15 PM

After serving up a three-run homer to Bryce Harper in the first inning, Henderson Alvarez quickly hit Ian Desmond in the shoulder on a 3-0 pitch.

Warnings were issued. Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr complained to the point that he was ejected. Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez walked to the mound to have a calming word with Alvarez.

“That came out of nowhere,” Marlins catcher Koyie Hill said. “For me, it didn’t strike me as he was trying to throw at him as erratic as he was to that point.”

And that was about the extent of the excitement for the Marlins on Thursday night. Once emotions returned to normal, the Nationals got down to business and hung a 3-2 loss on the Marlins, who have gone 0-for-Washington this season.

They were swept here in April to start the season and swept here again in August. The Nationals, who are on life support in the National League wild-card race, believe they need to sweep their four-game weekend series with the Marlins to have any chance at all of playing in October.

They got off to a good start Thursday when Harper homered, and Gio Gonzalez did just enough to hold the Marlins at bay. Harper, who went 3 for 4 on Thursday, has hit .388 (19 for 49) with four home runs this season against the Marlins.

There was a time not too long ago when the Marlins could show up in Washington and leave smiling.

From 2008 to 2011, before the Nationals got really good, the Marlins went 26-9 in D.C. And from 1997 to 2011, the Marlins won every season series against the Nationals franchise except for two.

The good ol’ days are no more here for Miami.

The Marlins ended Denard Span’s 29-game hitting streak yet extended their losing streak in Washington to seven. The Marlins have never gone winless in a season series totaling more than six games, but they are three losses shy of doing so against the Nationals.

Long distance

Giancarlo Stanton was surprised that his tape-measure home run in Philadelphia on Wednesday traveled as far as it did. ESPN Stats and Info put the distance at 463 feet, making it his longest blast of the season and tied for the 17th-longest hit all season in the majors.

“I didn’t think it was going to go that far, actually,” Stanton said.

The Braves’ Evan Gattis ranks first on the ESPN list with an estimated 486-foot shot, which was also hit at Citizens Bank Park.

Erratic season

Jacob Turner will make the final start of his uneven season Friday.

“Up and down,” manager Mike Redmond said of the 22-year-old right-hander’s inconsistent season. “Spring training was a struggle for him. Then he went down to the minor leagues and he got himself straightened out, came up and showed what he’s capable of doing, and the type of pitcher he is.”

But Turner has had a rough time lately. He has not won since July 10, and the Marlins have lost 10 of his past 11 starts.

“I think he’ll be way better off down the road for going through this experience, and having to grind through it,” Redmond said.

• Brian Flynn will start Sunday in Washington, and Brad Hand is scheduled to face the Phillies on Wednesday.

Coming up

•  Friday : Marlins RHP Turner (3-7, 3.51 ERA) at Washington Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (18-8, 3.33), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.
•  Saturday : Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (3-10, 4.51) at Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 2.96), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.
•  Scouting report : Zimmermann won each of his two previous starts against the Marlins this season. Turner has never won on the road, where he is 0-8 with a 3.66 ERA in 14 starts.

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