Early Offense Leads Washington Nationals to 3-1 Win Over Marlins

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Apr 19, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (center) is greeted by Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor (left) after Harper hit a grand slam during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (center) is greeted by Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor (left) after Harper hit a grand slam during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Nationals used early offense and good work from their bullpen to beat the Marlins 3-1 tonight in Miami. 

The Washington Nationals offense got going early in the top of the first inning against Marlins starter Wei-Yen Chen. After Anthony Rendon walked with two outs, Ryan Zimmerman ripped a ball to the right center field gap, which scored Rendon all the way from first and gave starter Joe Ross an early 1-0 lead.

To lead off the top of the second, Daniel Murphy laced a single to left field. This hit extended Murphy’s hitting streak to a very impressive 12 games. The Nationals second baseman came into tonight’s game leading all of baseball in average and was second in on-base percentage.

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The Nationals added to their lead in the top of the third. Ross would lead off the inning with a walk. With two outs, Bryce Harper scorched a RBI double to right center field, making the score 2-0. Harper now has a seven game RBI streak, which is the longest of his young career.

In the bottom of the third, Ross left the game due to an injury and was replaced by long reliever Yusmerio Petit due to a blister on his finger:

The Nationals offense struck yet again in the top of the fifth when Michael Taylor hit his second homer of the year to right center field, making it 3-1. This home run may be key for Taylor as the Nationals need him to get going in the leadoff spot.

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In the bottom of the fifth, Petit made his only mistake of the game as Derek Dietrich took a curveball deep to right center field for a solo home run, which cut the Nats’ lead to 3-1. Jayson Werth also left the game in the bottom of the fifth and was replaced in left field by Chris Heisey. Here’s an update on Werth’s injury:

Petit did a good job after replacing Ross in the third inning. After being replaced by Oliver Perez in the seventh, Petit went four innings, gave up one run on two hits and struck out three in the win.

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After two scoreless innings by Perez and Blake TreinenJonathan Papelbon came on for the save in the ninth. Papelbon worked around a two out single by Christian Yelich in the bottom of the ninth as he struck out Giancarlo Stanton looking to pick up his sixth save of the year.

Next Game: The Nationals (11-3) and Marlins (4-9) wrap up their four game series tomorrow afternoon in Miami at 1:10 p.m. E.T. You can watch the game on MASN. Max Scherzer (2-0, 3.15 ERA) will take the hill for the Nats and will be opposed by Tom Koehler (0-2, 6.30 ERA) for the Marlins.

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