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Nationals fall to Marlins, 4-3, in season finale but win season-opening series

Nationals fall to Marlins, 4-3, in season finale but win season-opening series

WASHINGTON -- Justin Bour doubled in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 10th inning after the Marlins erased two leads against a shaky Nationals bullpen, and Miami earned its first win of the season by beating Washington 4-3 Thursday night.

In a game delayed by rain for more than an hour both at the start and in the middle of the sixth, Bour sent a shot off Joe Blanton (0-1) down the left field line. That brought home J.T. Realmuto, whose single in the 10th was his third hit of the game, including a two-run homer in the eighth that made it two-all.

David Phelps (1-1) earned the win with a scoreless ninth inning. A.J. Ramos, Miami's sixth pitcher, worked the 10th to earn his first save. He put two men on with one out, then retired Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon to end it.

Nationals relievers Shawn Kelley, Sammy Solis and Blake Treinen combined to give up leads in the eighth and ninth innings.

Washington entered the eighth with a 2-0 edge thanks to homers from Adam Eaton and Jayson Werth.

But Kelley, who lost the spring training competition for the closer's job to Treinen, promptly blew it. He walked Christian Yelich, then two outs later, gave up Realmuto's second homer of the season.

Zimmerman put the Nationals back in front 3-2 in the eighth with a solo shot to straightaway center off Junichi Tazawa that originally resulted in a triple but was ruled on replay review to have cleared the wall. Zimmerman drove a 1-0 curveball just over the outstretched glove of outfielder Yelich and has homered in the past two games.

That lead didn't last long, though, because pinch-hitter Tyler Moore -- a former member of the Nationals -- delivered an RBI single up the middle off Treinen with a 2-2 count and two outs in the ninth. Treinen came in with a man on third, put there by Solis.

Eaton's homer came in the first off Tom Koehler, and Werth's was in the seventh off Kyle Barraclough, moments after Washington's left fielder made a running, twisting catch in the top of the inning.

A game that began 1 hour, 20 minutes late because of showers was held up for another 63 minutes in the middle of the sixth.

NATIONALS ROTATION

RHP Stephen Strasburg is being given an extra day of rest and will pitch Sunday at Philadelphia. That leaves the Nationals without a starter for Saturday, because the rotation's fifth member, RHP Joe Ross, was sent to the minors and can't be brought back yet. Manager Dusty Baker would not say who will pitch Saturday, but it is expected to be RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who hasn't appeared in the majors since 2015 with Kansas City.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Open a three-game series at the Mets on Friday, with LHP Wei-Yin Chen facing RHP Zack Wheeler. Chen is 0 for 50 with 21 strikeouts as a hitter in his big league career.

Nationals: NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer pitches Friday against the Phillies. Scherzer's spring preparation was delayed because he was still in pain from a fractured knuckle on his pitching hand. "I'm good to throw 100 pitches tomorrow. That's what's so exciting about where I was at, to where I am now. I'm going to be able to compete in this first turn of the rotation," Scherzer said Thursday.

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Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time

Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time

HOUSTON -- Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer, Howie Kendrick had a two-run triple and the Washington Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time, 4-3 Tuesday night in a matchup of division leaders.

Washington's winning streak over the Astros dates to 2012. The Nationals have won 13 of 14 against Houston since 2011.

Kendrick's triple tied it in the third before the Astros went back on top with an RBI single by Josh Reddick in the bottom half. Anthony Rendon doubled with two outs in the fourth before the homer by Wieters, which landed just to the right of straightaway center field, gave the NL East leaders a 4-3 lead.

Tanner Roark (10-8) allowed six hits and two earned runs in 5 2-3 innings and Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Charlie Morton (10-6) gave up four runs in six innings for the AL West-leading Astros.

The Astros threatened in the eighth against Brandon Kintzler when Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles and the Nationals intentionally walked Carlos Beltran with one out to load the bases. But Max Stassi grounded into a double play to leave Houston trailing.

George Springer led off the Houston first with a single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Reddick.

Beltran doubled off the wall in left-center field in the second and scored on a single by Derek Fisher.

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Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

When Max Scherzer was a teenager, he didn't know that one day he'd actually become a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He had no guarantee he'd make it to the majors, much less play in five consecutive MLB All-Star games. 

All he knew was that he had the option to go pro as a kid or go to college, and back then, the Nationals' ace needed a contingency plan in case baseball didn't work out. Fortunately for Scherzer, it did, but he doesn't regret going to college at the University of Missouri, telling Santana Moss on CSN's "Route 89" going to school was a no-brainer.

"It was actually a really easy decision," Scherzer told Moss. "When you get drafted out of high school, you're going to be going into the minor leagues, and that can take three to five or six years — multiple years — in the minor leagues, and you're forfeiting your right to further your education."

Scherzer was drafted in the 43rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003, but he opted to play for Mizzou for three years, which turned out to be a great decision. The Arizona Diamondbacks then drafted him in 2006 in the first round as the 11th overall pick. 

"A lot of times when you sign out of high school, you don't make it to the major leagues," Scherzer continued. "So I realize that your education — that's your safety net.

"You need to further your education in college, and if you do get drafted out of college, you're in a much better position to try to chase your dreams because if it doesn't work out, you still have one year left of school and that's much easier to obtain rather than try to go through four years when you're not coming out of high school."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound