Miami Marlins' Adam Conley delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Sunday, May 22, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee
May 22, 2016

MIAMI (AP) Even when Max Scherzer eases up on the strikeouts, he can be plenty tough. Just ask the Miami Marlins.

Scherzer fanned eight - a modest total by his recent standards - and allowed only two runs in eight innings Sunday to help the Washington Nationals beat Miami 8-2.

Scherzer (5-3) gave up six hits, walked none and threw 103 pitches. He has 38 strikeouts in his past three starts, including a record-tying 20 against Detroit, but relied mostly on weak contact rather than whiffs against Miami.

''I felt like I had good command of all the off-speed pitches,'' he said. ''That's what I most proud about. It gives you a lot of options because you have all of them working.''

Nationals manager Dusty Baker agreed.

''He was throwing great,'' Baker said. ''It was a pleasure to watch.''

Justin Bour ended Scherzer's shutout bid by pulling a changeup for a two-run homer in the seventh, his ninth home run this season and his second in as many games.

Scherzer has allowed 14 homers this year, including nine in his past four starts. Even so, with an uncharacteristically high ERA of 3.80, the three-time All-Star feels his year is headed in the right direction.

''I'm kind of getting in midseason form,'' he said. ''Sometimes it takes a few starts. Every start I keep getting a little sharper.''

Washington won the three-game series and took a 7-6 edge in the season series. The NL East foes don't meet again until Sept. 19.

Nationals leadoff batter Ben Revere had three hits, two runs, two RBIs and his first two stolen bases of the year, and hiked his average to .185. Baker said Revere is beginning to find his form after missing 27 games early in the season an oblique strain.

''Our igniter,'' Baker said. ''He just had to play and get his timing.''

Anthony Rendon drove in three runs with a double and a triple, and was robbed of another hit when center fielder Marcell Ozuna leaped into the 407-foot sign to make a catch.

Wilson Ramos had two hits and reached base four times. Daniel Murphy, who entered leading the majors in batting, went 1 for 4 to drop his average to .387. Bryce Harper went hitless but walked twice and drove in Washington's first run with a sacrifice fly.

Most of the damage came against Adam Conley (3-3), who allowed six runs and walked seven, three intentionally, in 5 1/3 innings. His ERA in four career starts against Washington rose to 8.50.

''Putting a guy on for free is about my least favorite thing in baseball,'' Conley said. ''And seven of those guys got on in my eyes without earning it. That's a hard pill to swallow.''

Miami's Giancarlo Stanton ended an 0-for-19 drought, lining a Scherzer slider up the middle for a single in the fifth. He also struck out twice and finished 1 for 4, and is 5 for 52 with 28 strikeouts over the past 15 games.

''For me, the guy's seeing the ball better,'' manager Don Mattingly said. ''You see a guy with more takes, and usually once that starts happening he's going to start hitting better.''

Teammate Ichiro Suzuki singled twice off Scherzer, and a third hit was erased by a replay reversal. The 42-year-old Suzuki overtook Wee Willie Keeler for 32nd place on the hits list with 2,956, and he's batting .382.

But Scherzer retired 11 in a row during one stretch, and didn't allow more than one baserunner in an inning until the seventh.

''He was rolling pretty good there,'' Mattingly said. ''There really wasn't a whole lot of traffic out there.''

The Marlins have lost four of their past five games while totaling nine runs.


Marlins: LF Christian Yelich missed his second start in a row because of spasms in his back. ''It's so-so,'' he said. ''Frustrating.'' He said his status is day to day.


Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 1.86) is scheduled to start Monday when the Nationals begin a seven-game homestand against the Mets. Gonzalez has a lifetime record of 10-4 against the Mets.

Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (3-2, 4.22) is scheduled to start Monday when the Marlins begin a four-game series against the Rays, with the first two games in Miami. The Rays are 30-14 against the Marlins since 2008.

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