WASHINGTON (AP) — Even after Jesús Aguilar hit a two-run home run in the first inning, manager Don Mattingly's nerves built up when his Miami Marlins missed a few chances to break the game open.
Then Aguilar doubled and scored in the seventh to assuage some of those fears, which Mattingly said lasted throughout the Marlins’ 5-3 victory Saturday. It’s Miami’s 10th win in 11 games against the Washington Nationals this season, and crucial hits were a big part of extending this mini-winning streak to three.
“It was very important to all of us getting those insurance runs deep in the game," Aguilar said through an interpreter. “It’s a team that looks very complete, that can play really really good baseball and we can (get to) .500. It’s something that we’ve got to continue playing hard for the whole season."
Despite going 26-39 against everyone else, Miami's domination of last-place Washington has helped push it to four games shy of .500.
The latest win came in a sloppy game that included four throwing errors and a couple of wild pitches. Washington's Juan Soto also provided some holiday weekend fireworks with his 15th home run of the season.
Soto's homer was the only earned run charged to Marlins starter Daniel Castano (1-1), who was solid in striking out three and allowing four hits in five-plus innings.
“Danny was good,” Mattingly said. “He kept us in the game. I think he got through five, which is kind of what you look at.”
Second baseman Jon Berti stole his major league-leading 25th base of the season, and designated hitter Garrett Cooper hit his 20th double. Steven Okert rode in on the the bullpen cart before striking out Soto and Josh Bell in a 1-2-3 eighth, and Tanner Scott pitched the ninth to pick up his ninth save of the year.
Nationals starter Jackson Tetreault (2-2) struggled with his command in giving up four earned runs on four hits and five walks in four innings. Tetreault threw just 44 of his 84 pitches for strikes and was a particularly rough 18 of 43 with his fastball.
“His misses weren’t terrible, but they were misses,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He couldn’t locate his fastball today at all, so it built his pitch count up. I thought he fought through just to give us four innings, which was good.”
UMP STAYS IN
Home-plate umpire Nic Lentz lost his mask on a sharp foul tip by Berti in the top of the sixth. Lentz was evaluated by a Nationals trainer before opting to put the mask back on and remain in the game.
Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara was named NL pitcher of the month for June after striking out 34 batters and posting a 1.89 ERA in 47 2/3 innings.
MARTINEZ, RIZZO EXTENDED
The Nationals picked up the 2023 contract options of Martinez and general manager Mike Rizzo. The moves, while expected, are significant because the Lerner family is looking to sell the team, and this provides Martinez and Rizzo some security through that potential change.
“I think it does bring some continuity not only to this organization but to the players, as well, which is nice,” Martinez said. "It’s nice to know that we’re going to be together and that we’re going to continue to work the way we do.”
Marlins: Joey Wendle got the day off for monitoring after Mattingly said the infielder ran around the field more than anyone else on the team Friday in his first game back from a month on the injured list with a strained right hamstring. ... Rojas, who left the game Friday after running into Wendle and coming away with a stinger, was back in the lineup with Mattingly deeming him “good to go.”
Nationals: CF Victor Robles brushed off a bruised left shin that knocked him out in the fifth inning Friday, telling Martinez he felt fine and showing it by walking without a limp. Robles had a base hit and showed no ill effects in the field.
RHP Pablo Lopez (5-4, 2.98 ERA) starts for the Marlins against RHP Erick Fedde (5-5, 4.40) and the Nationals in a 1:35 p.m. EDT start Sunday in the third game of a four-game series.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press