WASHINGTON (AP) — The Nationals just can’t sustain any momentum in their attempt to get back into the National League playoff chase.
Saturday night’s loss to the Marlins was a microcosm of their recent struggles.
Isaac Galloway hit a two-run single in the 10th inning, JT Riddle homered and drove in four runs and Miami beat Washington 7-5.
Following two singles and a fielder’s-choice grounder, the Nationals intentionally walked Riddle to load the bases with two outs in the 10th. Galloway delivered with a hit to center off Koda Glover (0-2). The Marlins ended a streak of 12 consecutive road losses and six in a row overall.
Both teams scored in the ninth. Riddle’s drive into the right-field stands off Nationals reliever Justin Miller put Miami up 5-4. Washington’s Adam Eaton tied it with a homer off Drew Steckenrider leading off the bottom of the inning.
The Nationals trailed 1-0 after Derek Dietrich’s second-inning homer and were down 4-2 in the sixth. They came back each time before the Marlins finally finished them off.
Trea Turner homered and drove in three runs for the Nationals, who wasted a chance to pick up a game on the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Washington won six of seven to move four games above .500 on Aug. 7, but has since lost eight of 12.
“If you give those guys more chances and don’t capitalize on your chances, then you’re not going to put yourself in a good spot to win,” Turner said. “That’s kind of been the problem lately.”
With two runners on in the sixth, the Marlins benefited from second baseman Daniel Murphy’s fielding error that loaded the bases with one out. Two batters later, Riddle lined a two-run, two-out single over a leaping Murphy.
“It felt good, honestly. It’s been a while,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who was ejected from Friday’s 8-2 loss.
Washington rebounded in the seventh with two runs. Video review determined that Tayron Guerrero hit Matt Wieters with a pitch, loading the bases. Guerrero’s next offering was a wild pitch, scoring Murphy. Turner’s bloop single to center drove in the tying run, but Juan Soto hit into a double play to end the threat.
Riddle had two hits in Friday’s loss. His RBI double in the fifth scored Miami’s second run, and Riddle put the Marlins up 4-2 in the sixth with a two-run single.
The shortstop, who entered the series with a .211 batting average and five homers, isn’t the usual candidate for an intentional walk.
“I can’t remember,” he said of his last free pass. “I might have had one last year.”
Nationals manager Dave Martinez, dealing with a shorthanded bullpen beset by injuries and the decisions to unload Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley, called for the intentional pass with Riddle up in the 10th. Glover could not keep the game tied.
“It’s not easy,” Martinez said of handling his current bullpen, “but I’m confident in those guys.”
Steckenrider (4-2) blew the save but finished the ninth to pick up the win. Brett Graves recorded the final three outs for his first career save.
Miami starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed two runs — both on Turner’s homer in the third — and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Nationals recalled Jefry Rodriguez from Triple-A Syracuse for Saturday’s start while placing Jeremy Hellickson on the disabled list with a cervical nerve impingement. Rodriguez allowed four runs, two earned, in five innings.
Marlins: INF/OF Garrett Cooper (right wrist sprain) played for the second straight day for Single-A Jupiter on Saturday. Cooper went 1 for 3 in five innings at first base. … RHP Kyle Barraclough (lower back stiffness) threw a live session on Saturday.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg, on the DL retroactive to July 22 with a cervical nerve impingement, threw more than 40 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday. He is expected to make a start somewhere on Tuesday. “We’ll talk to him (Sunday),” Martinez said. “We don’t know if it’s Tuesday here, or Tuesday in a rehab stint.” … Reliever Kelvin Herrera (right rotator cuff impingement) tossed 15 pitches in a simulated game earlier Saturday.
Marlins: Jose Urena (3-12, 4.74 ERA) starts while appealing his six-game suspension for intentionally hitting Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. with a pitch in Thursday’s loss at Atlanta.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-9, 4.12) has a 2.25 ERA in two starts against Miami this season.
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