There was a testy moment Friday night when Jose Fernandez drilled Jayson Werth in the elbow, prompting a stare-down from the long-locked Nationals outfielder and some back-and-forth banter between the two that did not appear cordial.
Although tempers soon calmed, perhaps it frayed Fernandez’s nerves just a smidgen, for he uncorked two wild pitches shortly thereafter, the second of which scored the tying run and triggered the pitcher’s eventual exit.
“He said I was looking at him, and I said, ‘You were looking at me.’ I don’t think that I hurt him,” Fernandez said. “I wasn’t trying to hit him with a guy [already] on base.”
On a night when Fernandez wasn’t quite up to his super-high standards, the Nationals still couldn’t find a way to beat him.
Instead, they waited until Fernandez was out of the picture to do the deed, coming up with two runs in the eighth off reliever Jose Urena and the winning run in the 10th off Brian Ellington for a 5-4 victory.
“We’re not giving up anytime soon,” said Fernandez about the end of the season.
Neither Fernandez nor his formidable mound opponent, Max Scherzer, factored in the decision, as both were gone when the Marlins broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth on Marcell Ozuna’s fielder’s choice.
But the lead was short-lived. Urena gave up a leadoff single in the eighth to Yunel Escobar and walked Bryce Harper on four pitches before uncorking a wild pitch that put two runners in scoring position. After Clint Robinson was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out, Ian Desmond tied it with a sacrifice fly and Michael Taylor put the Nationals on top with a go-ahead single.
The Marlins tied it again in the ninth on Dee Gordon’s sacrifice fly. But it was another sacrifice fly — Jose Lobaton’s with one out and the bases loaded in the 10th — that won it for the Nationals.
The Marlins had given Fernandez a 2-0 lead in the first on Christian Yelich’s seventh home run.
But Fernandez gave up a leadoff homer to Robinson in the second to make it 2-1, and the Nationals tied it in the sixth when Fernandez struggled. Fernandez was lifted with two outs in the sixth after throwing 95 pitches. He gave up five hits and struck out eight.
“He was very solid,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “[In the sixth], I think he was a little amped up.”
RIGHT AT HOME
When Justin Bour was growing up in the Washington area, his father was assigned to the Secret Service, protecting the lives of presidents. These days, Bour’s father is retired, and the first baseman for the Marlins is putting the hurt on the Nationals, his hometown team.
Bour’s three-run homer Thursday sparked the Marlins to a 6-4 victory over the Nationals. It was the fourth home run of Bour’s career at Nationals Park. The only place where he’s hit more is Marlins Park. Bour chalks up his success against the Nationals (lifetime .313 average and .960 OPS) to having faced them often so far in his young career.
It has nothing to do, he says, with having grown up in the area and watching them play. In fact, Bour said the first major-league game he ever saw was the first one he played in. But Bour does have close ties to the area, where his father was often the closest person to the president.
“He was in transportation detail and he guarded both [George H.W.] Bush and [Bill] Clinton,” Bour said. “He drove one of the limos for one of the inaugural.”
▪ Martin Prado was scratched from Friday’s lineup because of a sore wrist. Jennings, who termed the decision “precautionary”, said Prado could return Saturday.
▪ Saturday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (3-3, 3.81 ERA) at Washington Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.51), 4:05 p.m., Nationals Park.
▪ Sunday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (4-6, 5.32) at Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.98), 1:35 p.m., Nationals Park.