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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals trailed in the seventh inning and again in the eighth. Both times, they came back.
Washington remained under .500 after rallying past the Miami Marlins 6-4 Monday night, yet it might not be long before this team lives up to its preseason hype.
"This is the team I've waited for," Yunel Escobar said through a translator.
Escobar had a career-high five hits, and the Nationals combined solid pitching with timely hitting to carve out their sixth victory in seven games.
Jordan Zimmermann kept the game close for seven innings, and former starter Tanner Roark sealed the win with his first career save.
Better yet, the Nationals banged out 12 hits and overcame a 4-2 deficit in a four-run eighth.
"It gives them confidence that they're not out of a game, which is a good thing," manager Matt Williams said.
Washington trailed 4-2 before sending eight batters to the plate in the eighth against Bryan Morris (3-1). A leadoff walk and a home run by Ian Desmond tied it, and with two outs the Nationals used three straight hits to take the lead for the first time.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore singled, Denard Span doubled and Escobar hit a two-run single to right.
"I put myself in a bind when I walked the first hitter," Morris said. "Made a really bad pitch and it went over the fence. Then after that I left other balls up and they found holes as well."
Matt Grace (1-0) got his first major league win despite giving up two hits and a walk in the eighth. Roark, who won 15 games as a starter last year, worked the ninth.
"It feels great," he said. "But better yet, our team, we didn't stop and we kept going, all night."
Justin Bour homered for the Marlins, who have dropped two straight after winning nine of 10.
With the score tied at 2, Dee Gordon led off the Miami eighth with a walk and stole second. With two outs, pinch-hitter Jeff Baker singled to right, and the throw from Bryce Harper bounced away from catcher Wilson Ramos. Ichiro Suzuki added a run-scoring infield hit for a 4-2 lead.
It didn't last.
"It was a tough night, no doubt," manager Mike Redmond said. "We coughed up two leads late."
Zimmermann and Miami's David Phelps were locked in a pitchers' duel until the seventh.
Starting at first base for the slumping Michael Morse, Bour sent a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall to put the Marlins up 2-1.
In the bottom half, Phelps was pulled after issuing a one-out walk to pinch-hitter Clint Robinson, who scored on Jayson Werth's two-out RBI single off Sam Dyson.
Zimmermann gave up one earned run, six hits and no walks in seven innings. He has not lost to Miami in 13 starts since May 28, 2012.
Phelps allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts since replacing injured Henderson Alvarez in the starting rotation.
Marlins: In the third inning, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made a diving stop in the hole and threw to second base from a sitting position to get a force out.
Nationals: Span sprinted to the warning track in center to chase down a liner off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton in the sixth inning.
Marlins: OF Christian Yelich (lower back strain) could rejoin the Marlins for their four-game series in San Francisco later this week, Redmond said. ... Redmond said Alvarez (right shoulder) had a successful bullpen session last weekend will likely make a rehab start this week.
Nationals: 3B-2B Anthony Rendon was diagnosed with an oblique strain after visiting team doctors Monday. Rendon played in three minor league games during the past 10 days while rehabbing from a left knee sprain. "We're just going to have to sit him a little bit longer," Williams said.
Marlins: Mat Latos (0-3, 6.86 ERA) tries for the sixth time to earn his first win of the season when he faces Washington on Tuesday night.
Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 4.60) starts the second game of the series. The right-hander has allowed one run or fewer in 12 of his 20 starts against the Marlins, but he's 9-6 with a 3.58 ERA against them and took the loss in an 8-0 rout last month.
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