The Nationals were sympathetic hosts to the grieving Marlins, paying tribute to Jose Fernandez in a pre-game ceremony and stenciling the pitcher’s number 16 on the back of their mound.
Perhaps it lifted the Marlins’ spirits, for the first time in days they showed some bounce in their step with a 7-4 victory over the playoff-bound Nationals. The Marlins need a series sweep to finish with a winning record, and took the first step in that direction with Friday’s win.
“It feels good to know we’re not alone in the grieving process,” said Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.
Yelich homered and drove in two runs, Justin Bour went 3 for 4, and the Marlins improved their season record over the Nationals to 9-8, proving once again that it was the underling Braves and Phillies who contributed to much of their undoing.
“Who knows when it’s going to get better,” Yelich said of the somber past week. “But going out there every night is really helping us.”
Pending free agent Andrew Cashner made his final start as a Marlin, and failed to pick up the decision after blowing a 4-0 lead by giving up four runs in the fourth.
Cashner, a mid-season trade acquisition the Marlins had hoped would provide them with a late-season lift into the playoffs, ended up going 1-4 for them and remained winless for the season in all 14 of his road starts — both as a Padre and a Marlin.
The Marlins jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a pair of runs in the second and two more in the third. Bour drove in a run in each of those two innings.
“It was kind of what we were seeing (from Bour) right before he got hurt,” said manager Don Mattingly.
But the Nationals opened the fourth with back-to-back homers off Cashner by Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew, then added two more runs to tie it.
The Marlins regained the lead in the sixth on Dee Gordon’s infield single before making it 6-4 in the seventh on Yelich’s 21st home run, an upper deck shot to right.
“It’s no secret we’ve had a tough week,” said Yelich, who needs three more RBI to finish the season with 100.
Mattingly said the team’s mood seemed a bit brighter Friday, one day after players said goodbye to Fernandez at a service for him in Miami.
“Just being away from Miami made it a little easier,” Mattingly said.
The Marlins bullpen combined to record 10 strikeouts Friday, and A.J. Ramos collected his 40th save.
The start of the game was delayed an hour and 43 minutes due to rain.