Giancarlo Stanton’s power is something fans have come to expect.
But Justin Bour’s speed?
Those two elements — Stanton’s muscle and Bour’s hustle — keyed the Marlins’ 4-3 home victory over the Nationals on Monday night.
The Marlins (75-75) pulled to within five games of the Mets (80-70) in the Wild Card race.
“Every game is so important right now so it’s whatever it takes to win at this point for us,” Bour said. “These are the games you look forward to in crunch time and you have to be able to think on your feet and be ready to go.”
Down by a run in the sixth inning, Bour followed a Stanton leadoff walk with a perfectly-placed bunt single that moved pinch runner Yefri Perez to second.
Derek Dietrich lined a pinch-hit double to center that carried over Trea Turner and allowed Perez to tie the game at 3.
Bour advanced to third on the play and then beat a throw to the plate on a ground ball to second by Ichiro Suzuki to give the Marlins the lead for good.
Two batters earlier, Bour dove back to first base after a sharp line drive by J.T. Realmuto was caught by Ryan Zimmerman. The alert and quick move avoided a double play that could have changed the inning.
“I saw Yefri out there and I saw the situation,” Bour said. “At this point, every game is huge for us and whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Dee Gordon made another alert play defensively in the ninth that saved the game for the Marlins.
After Wilson Ramos led off the ninth with a double, Zimmerman hit a grounder to Gordon at second. Gordon fired quickly to third to retire pinch runner Michael Taylor on the fielder’s choice.
“That’s just where the play took me,” Gordon said. “I was just trying to get the out for A.J. [Ramos]. It was a good play and a big play.”
A.J. Ramos would go on to pick up his 38th save of the season by retiring two dangerous pinch hitters in succession — Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy.
Nick Wittgren, Brian Ellington, Fernando Rodney and Kyle Barraclough combined with Ramos to record 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
None of the six pitchers the Marlins used walked a batter.
“Obviously a huge win for us being on life support,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “A lot of good things happened. Our bullpen does a nice job getting outs all the way through.”
Stanton opened the scoring by crushing a gargantuan 448-foot home run to left center field that carried over the Budweiser bar in that area of Marlins Park.
It was Stanton’s 26th home run of the season and his first since August 13 when he landed on the disabled list with a groin strain originally believed to have ended his season.
Stanton cracked a slider from A.J. Cole an estimated 448 feet to left center field to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead. Stanton played his eighth game since coming back and made his second start in the past four games.
“It’s the trade off you get from having him in there,” Mattingly said. “[Aside from the home run], he also ends up walking and we score a run there.”
Wei-Yin Chen returned from the DL Monday and pitched 4 1/3 innings, with all three of his runs allowed coming on a three-run homer by Danny Espinosa that gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Chen had allowed only one hit prior to allowing three in a row leading up to Espinosa’s blast.
Chen threw 66 pitches and struck out three.
“I felt pretty good overall,” Chen said. “I haven’t been pitching for a really long time so I just wanted to get the feeling back of going out there.”