Latos, Marlins limit Nationals to 3 hits in 2-1 victory
WASHINGTON (AP) Three innings into the game, Mat Latos was getting into a groove and an ailing Stephen Strasburg was done for the night.
Latos and four relievers combined on a three-hitter, and the Miami Marlins got all the offense they needed early against Strasburg in 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
Strasburg (2-3) left for a pinch hitter in the third inning after allowing two runs and throwing 64 pitches.
''He's got a little issue under his shoulder blade,'' manager Matt Williams said. ''Had it last start. Could be an alignment issue, but as he finishes pitches it grabs him every once in a while. Tonight it got a little bit worse. So we'll have to have the chiropractor look at him.''
In the second inning, Strasburg grimaced after throwing a pitch and was visited by the team trainer, pitching coach Steve McCatty and Williams. The right-hander stayed in the game, but not for long.
Strasburg was scheduled to lead off the third and put on a batting helmet, but was told to take a seat in the dugout.
''It's something that's just been lingering and I just felt it more and more,'' he said. ''I felt like it was something that I felt I could have gone through it, but at this point in the season you just want to get it right and not alter your mechanics too much.''
Strasburg gave up four hits, walked two and hit a batter with a pitch in his shortest outing since a two-inning stint against Miami on Aug. 28, 2013.
Latos (1-3) allowed one run and two hits over 6 1-3 innings to earn his first win with Miami. He struck out six and walked five. Obtained in an offseason trade with Cincinnati, the five-year veteran came in with a 6.86 ERA over five starts.
''That was probably the best I've felt all year,'' the right-hander said.
After allowing two walks in the seventh, Latos was replaced by Nick Masset.
''I would have loved to have him get through the seventh, but he gave us everything he had and really kept a great lineup in check,'' Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. ''He threw a few pitches early, but then kind of settled in.''
Steve Cishek worked the ninth to earn his third save and secure the Marlins' 10th win in 13 games.
After a single by Wilson Ramos and an infield error in the Washington ninth, Cishek retired the next three batters.
Ichiro Suzuki had two hits and scored a run for Miami. The 41-year-old has hit safely in 19 of 20 career games against Washington, including the last 11.
Until the ninth, Washington's only hits were a double by Ramos and a third-inning single by pitcher Doug Fister, batting for Strasburg. Bryce Harper's career-best, 20-game run of reaching base ended with an 0-for-4 performance that included two strikeouts.
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was given the night off. He's batting .176 with no homers and dropped a fly ball on Monday.
After the start was delayed 28 minutes by rain, Miami went up 2-0 in the second inning. J.T. Realmuto tripled and scored on an opposite-field single by Suzuki, who came home on a throwing error by Strasburg.
Dan Uggla hit a run-scoring grounder in the bottom half.
Marlins utility man Jeff Baker, who went to high school in northern Virginia, is an avid Washington Capitals fan. He has an Alex Ovechkin jersey displayed at the empty locker next to his.
''I go to every game they're home during the offseason,'' Baker said. ''I live here in the winter, so I go to every game and I try to watch as much as I can.''
Marlins: OF Christian Yelich (lower back strain) played seven innings in a rehab game Monday - going 1 for 3 with a stolen base - and is slated to play nine innings Wednesday. ''He's probably not far off,'' Redmond said.
Nationals: Now that he's gotten past a left knee sprain that landed him on the disabled list, 3B-2B Anthony Rendon has to recover from an oblique strain. He will be shut down for a few days. ''There's no real time frame,'' Williams said.
Marlins: In the series finale Wednesday afternoon, RHP Tom Koehler hopes for an encore to his last outing against the Nationals: 7 1-3 innings of six-hit ball in an 8-0 win on April 25.
Nationals: Max Scherzer, whose record (1-3) belies his ERA (1.26), seeks to snap a two-game losing streak. Washington totaled one run in those two defeats.