Werth homers, drives in 3 as Nationals beat Marlins 7-4
WASHINGTON (AP) Jayson Werth and the Washington Nationals hitters are heating up.
The question is whether or not it's happening in time.
Werth homered and drove in three runs, and Clint Robinson added a pinch-hit home run as the Nationals had 13 hits and rallied past the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Sunday.
''We dug ourselves a pretty good hole here, so we're going to need to get hot and stay hot the rest of the way,'' said Werth, whose Nationals remain 5 1-2 games behind the Mets in the NL East.
Starter Stephen Strasburg was lifted after four innings with a recurrence of the upper back tightness that bothered him earlier in the year. He gave up four runs on seven hits.
''It's not really a muscular thing, it's just like this little ball that's there and kind of just affects everything around it,'' he said. ''So the biggest thing right now is just to get it calmed down the next couple of days and hopefully make my next start.''
Werth has hit safely in 10 of his last 13 games, with two doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs.
He was hitting .208 in May when he broke his wrist and missed 61 games, then he struggled initially after his return in late July.
''I've been confident that at some point I feel like I was going to get back to playing like myself and being me,'' Werth said. ''It took a little bit longer than I thought it would, but hopefully I'm where I need to be and I'm ready for a run in September and hopefully into October.''
Doug Fister (5-7) pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
Michael Taylor added two singles and scored twice for Washington, which got hits from all eight starting position players.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched around two hits in the ninth for his 22nd save.
Miami starter Brad Hand (4-4) allowed five runs on eight hits over 4 2-3 innings.
''He just couldn't make some pitches there in tough situations when he needed to,'' Marlins manager Dan Jennings said.
Hand, who had won three of his last four starts, fell to 0-6 with a 7.96 ERA versus Washington.
Justin Bour hit a three-run homer and Derek Dietrich added a solo shot for the Marlins, who have lost 8 of 10.
The Nationals went 6-3 on their nine-game homestand against the Brewers, Padres and Marlins and begin a three-game series Monday at NL Central-leading St. Louis.
They then return home to face the Braves and Mets.
The Nationals pulled ahead in the fifth. Werth doubled home Taylor and scored on a single by Bryce Harper to tie it.
After Ryan Zimmerman singled, Ian Desmond - who also drew three walks - singled to center, scoring Harper to put Washington up 5-4.
Robinson's two-run blast in the sixth provided some cushion.
Strasburg had gone 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled list after missing more than a month with an oblique strain.
He was touched for three runs in the first inning Sunday.
Dee Gordon led off with a bunt single and Ichiro Suzuki doubled. One out later, Bour homered for a 3-0 Marlins lead.
Washington got to Hand in the third when Taylor singled and Werth lined a 3-2 pitch into the Nationals bullpen to make it 3-2.
Dietrich homered into the second deck in right to open the fourth.
With his double Sunday, Ichiro Suzuki has 2,924 Major League hits, all coming after he turned 27. He moved ahead of Sam Rice and now trails only Pete Rose (3,353) for most hits after reaching 27, according to STATS.
The Mets-Red Sox game ended before this one, and during the ninth inning of that game, a contingent of fans at Nationals Park could be heard chanting: ''Let's go Red Sox!''
Marlins: OF Christian Yelich (bruised right knee) was out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game, but singled as a pinch hitter in the ninth.
Nationals: Taylor (bruised right knee) returned to the starting lineup after missing Friday's game and pinch hitting on Saturday. ... INF Yunel Escobar (right hand) missed his third straight game.
Marlins: LHP Chris Narveson (1-1, 7.04 ERA) makes his second start of the season when the Marlins begins a three-game series at Atlanta.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-7, 4.11 ERA) looks to snap a personal three-game losing streak when Washington opens a series at St. Louis. Gonzalez has allowed 14 earned runs in 12 1-3 innings over his last three starts.