Miami Marlins

Marlins close out homestand with 5-1 victory over Nationals, gain series split

Don Mattingly discusses Marlins' 5-1 win

Marlins close out home stand before heading out on a 10-game road trip.
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Marlins close out home stand before heading out on a 10-game road trip.

Giancarlo Stanton was on the bench. So was Dee Gordon.

Manager Don Mattingly rested two of his stars on Thursday, but the Marlins didn’t need their help.

The Marlins closed out a rough home stand on Thursday with a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals before heading out on a 10-game road trip starting in San Francisco on Friday.

If the outcome had gone the other way, “it would have been a really, really long flight,” said winning pitcher Tom Koehler.

Marcell Ozuna, hitting in the cleanup spot for Stanton, hit a three-run home run, Ichiro Suzuki reached base three times with a walk and a pair of hits, Koehler turned in five solid innings, and four Marlins relievers combined to retire the final 12 batters of the game.

The Marlins went 2-5 on the home stand. But they gained a series split with the Nationals.

Bryce Harper put the Nationals on top in the first with a solo home run to center off Koehler, one of his favorite pitchers to hit against. It was the sixth home run of Harper’s career off Koehler.

Marlins close out home stand before heading out on a 10-game road trip.

But Ozuna put the Marlins ahead in the bottom of the hitting when he hit a towering home run with two aboard off Nationals starter Max Scherzer.

The Marlins made it 4-1 in the second on Martin Prado’s RBI single.

Suzuki, who hit in the leadoff spot for Gordon, went 2 for 3 with a walk to give him 2,942 career hits, one fewer than Frank Robinson on the all-time list. He also turned in two stellar plays in right.

“It seems like he’s drinking out of the Fountain of Youth right now,” Koehler said of Suzuki, who is hitting .389 in limited duty. “That was vintage Ichiro today.”

Scherzer, who had won three of his previous four decisions against the Marlins, was far from his best on Thursday. The Marlins scored five runs on eight hits and a pair of walks off Scherzer, who came out after the fifth.

Koehler also went five. But, with the Nationals prepared to send him three left-handed hitters in the sixth, manager Don Mattingly decided to pull him at that point, even though Koehler had thrown only 85 pitches.

The decision paid off.

Mattingly used Craig Breslow, Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and A.J. Ramos over the final four innings to slam the door. The Nationals failed to put a runner aboard against any of the four.

“We like the way our back end if starting to set up,” Mattingly said of the bullpen. “Hopefully this is the start of us playing well.”

URENA CALLED UP

The Marlins made more alterations to their bullpen Thursday when they designated veteran left-hander Chris Narveson for assignment and called up Jose Urena from Triple A New Orleans.

While Urena had been starting for the Zephyrs, the Marlins indicated in spring training that they envisioned him pitching out of their bullpen.

“I think bringing Urena in today gives us another power arm that is a possibility of getting us to those guys (late-inning relievers), to kind of protect Phelps from having to go two innings, or three innings,” Mattingly said.

Narveson became the second Marlins reliever designated this week, following Dustin McGowan. McGowan ended up accepting an outright assignment to New Orleans.

COMING UP

Friday: Marlins RHP Jarred Cosart (0-0, 6.10) at San Francisco Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 3.72), 10:15 p.m., AT&T Park.

Saturday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (1-1, 3.78) at San Francisco Giants RHP Jake Peavy (0-1, 9.00), 9:05 p.m., AT&T Park.

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