MIAMI — It looked like the Washington Nationals were turning the corner scoring 19 runs in the first two games against the Miami Marlnis.
However, after a one-run loss on Saturday, the offensive struggles continued the next day. Jose Urena and three relievers combined on a two-hitter for the Miami Marlins in a 5-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday to split a four-game series.
“I think yesterday’s game was frustrating and today’s game was just flat,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
Miami was outscored 19-4 losing the first two games before limiting the Nationals to one run on seven hits in the final two games.
“If you don’t get any hits, then I think you look flat,” Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy said. “It can be deflating.”
Washington is 5-7 in its last 12 games and at 52-53 trailing Philadelphia and Atlanta in the division, the front office has decisions to make ahead of Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
“This is definitely a pivotal point for us right now,” Martinez said. “We’ve got to come out and play every day. I talk about one game at a time, but we’ve got to show up that one game and play hard of every inning of every game, every pitch. That’s what we’ve got to do. If we’re going to get back in this thing, we’ve got to come out every single day and play like it’s our last game of the season and play to win.”
Urena threw six scoreless innings allowing only one hit. Adam Conley, Brad Ziegler, and Drew Steckenrider each pitched an inning in relief for the Marlins.
Urena (3-10) scattered four walks and struck out five to earn his first victory at home this season after going 0-8 in his first 13 starts.
“It felt pretty good,” Urena said. “A victory like this, you have to look at it like any other start. You have to get the plan to work and try to attack. You do whatever you need.”
Jeremy Hellickson (4-2) allowed five runs, three earned, and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
“I didn’t feel like I had a ton of life on my fastball, but command was good,” Hellickson said. “I didn’t really have swing-and-miss stuff. It’s a lineup that battles, puts the ball in play.”
All five runs were scored with two outs.
“A lot of two-out (hits) and then things kind of got going,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Those hits are huge because you kind of keep adding on. You keep getting a chicken scratch hit here and another one there and next thing you know you have a lead and a little bit of a cushion and your pitcher doesn’t have quite the same stress on him.”
Urena gave the Marlins an early lead with a base hit in the second.
“That was luck,” Urena said. “I hit it with my hands. We’ll take it.”
Martin Prado’s double to deep center field past Bryce Harper gave Miami a 2-0 lead in the third.
Miami plated three runs in the fifth on a base hit by Prado, an error by Murphy, and a double by Miguel Rojas to push the lead to 5-0.
“Really poor defensive play by me put us behind schedule on offense,” Murphy said.
Murphy lined out with two runners on base to end the game.
Harper and Matt Adams had the lone hits for the Nationals.
“Our offense didn’t do anything today,” Martinez said. “Our offense was not there today.”
Washington’s Trea Turner hit .350 (7 for 20) in the series with a double, triple, home run, four runs scored, three RBIs, and two stolen bases.
It was the fifth time this season the Nationals have been held to two hits, a season-low. The last was on June 25 at Tampa Bay.
Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark (4-12, 4.55 ERA) will open a 10-game homestand on Tuesday against the New York Mets.
Marlins lefty Wei-Yin Chen (3-7, 5.65) will take the mound on Monday to begin a three-game series at Atlanta.
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