WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Urena pitched seven solid innings, Washington’s bullpen blew another lead behind ace Max Scherzer and the Miami Marlins beat the Nationals 3-2 Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.
After Scherzer went six innings and left leading 2-1, Tanner Rainey allowed the tying run in the seventh for the Nationals’ 11th blown save, matching the Chicago Cubs for most in the majors.
Kyle Barraclough (1-2) then allowed Miguel Rojas’ go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth.
The Nationals loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but could not push the tying run across against the relief duo Nick Anderson and Adam Conley. Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 10th save, dropping Washington to 22-32.
The Nationals fell to 2-10 in games started by Scherzer, who allowed seven hits and struck out six. He logged six scoreless innings in his previous start against the Mets, but New York rallied against Barraclough and closer Sean Doolittle for a 6-1 victory.
Scherzer also had the go-ahead RBI against Miami, hitting a single for a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning.
Conley has not allowed a run in his last five appearances. He came on with two outs in the eighth to face Juan Soto, the Nationals’ hottest hitter, and got him to fly out to left and end the threat.
Neil Walker had three hits, including an RBI single in the third to stake Urena to an early lead.
Urena (3-6) allowed two earned runs and four hits to improve to 5-2 against the Nationals, including an earlier win this season.
Rojas walked against Rainey leading off the seventh, advanced to third on a sacrifice and a flyout, then scored on Harold Ramirez’s groundout.
Starlin Castro scored the go-ahead run an inning later after reaching against Barraclough on a one-out single and getting to third on shortstop Trea Turner’s throwing error a batter later.
Ramirez singled in his first at-bat and has reached safely in 11 of 12 games since making his major league debut on May 11.
SOTO HOT RIGHT NOW
Soto extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games with a double to right in the fourth. He is 19 for 41 with 11 RBIs during that span.
Marlins: OF Garrett Cooper was back in the lineup after getting a day off Sunday. He went 2 for 5 with a double in the third inning.
Nationals: OF Victor Robles was given the day off to rest.
Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards (1-5, 4.14) starts Tuesday’s series opener against the Giants at Marlins Park.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-3, 3.25) looks for his second win in three starts Monday against Atlanta.