Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins rally against Nationals bullpen in final home game to avoid sweep

A four-run seventh inning did it.

The Marlins needed something to spark their offense after trailing the Washington Nationals 3-1 through six innings, and first baseman Austin Dean’s lead-off solo home run was the answer.

A few batters later, Jon Berti drove in Magneuris Sierra and Lewis Brinson for the game-tying and go-ahead runs, giving Miami a 4-3 lead. And third baseman Starlin Castro scored Berti to make it a two-run cushion.

Miami’s 5-3 win on Closing Day at Marlins Park was its 27th comeback victory this season.

After managing just three hits and a run off Washington starter Austin Voth, the Marlins (54-101) took advantage of the Nationals’ bullpen, notching a combined four earned runs and two hit off Hunter Strickland and Wander Suero in the seventh.

“My big philosophy is ‘hitting is contagious,’” Dean said of the Marlins’ seventh-inning rally. “Once something like that happens, you kind of get the blood going a little bit. All that is huge. That was a really big total team win out of everybody. I couldn’t be any prouder of all of my teammates.”

Miami starter Pablo Lopez allowed three straight hits to start Sunday’s game -- including an RBI single to Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon -- and the Nationals (85-69) took an early 1-0 lead.

Lopez, who made his 20th start of the year, entered the game 0-2 with a 9.87 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals. He allowed six hits, three earned runs, walked four batters and struck out one in five innings on Sunday.

“I just don’t think Pablo’s getting to where he needs to get to,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after the game. “First inning, we’re lucky that the game doesn’t get away right there, honestly, right out of the gate. But it’s the end of the year and you have a chance to have another start.”

Lopez will start the Marlins’ first game against the Philadelphia Phillies -- Miami’s last series the season.

After the Marlins tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the first, Washington tacked on another pair of runs in the fourth. Brian Dozier reached base on a fielder’s choice out, and Juan Soto scored. And Voth notched his first Major League RBI single later in the inning to give the Nationals a 3-1 lead.

The win brought the Marlins’ record to 4-15 against the Nationals this year. Miami lost 15 of its final 17 games against Washington, including 11 straight against the Nationals entering Sunday’s game.

The 4-15 marks is tied for Miami’s worst against against an NL opponent since divisional play expanded in the 2001 season. It ties the mark set previously this year against the Braves, who the Marlins also finished 4-15 against.

Sierra tied the game in the bottom of the first after leading off the inning with a triple. He scored off a sacrifice fly from third baseman Starlin Castro.

Castro’s double in the seventh was his fourth straight game driving in a runner. He also hit an RBI double in Saturday’s loss.

The Marlins will finish the season with a 30-51 record at Marlins Park. With the win, they avoided winning fewer than 30 games at home for just the second time in franchise history.