The Washington Nationals are in a free-fall.
Despite coming back from a 4-0 deficit, the Nats never did take a lead, and the Miami Marlins used a big tenth inning to trump the Nats 8-5, sending Washington to its sixth loss in its last seven game.
The Nats, at 25-27, are third in the division, three games behind division-leading Atlanta and 2 1/2 behind Miami for second place.
Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann (5.0 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 K) imploded in the fourth inning. Derek Dietrich singled to lead off and went to second on Giancarlo Stanton’s base on balls. Casey McGehee singled to right, and Dietrich held at third. But Stanton had his head down, and was caught off base for the first out of the inning.
It would be a saving grace, as Garrett Jones followed with a single to plate Dietrich, then with two outs, Marcell Ozuna and Adeiny Hechavarria both singled, making it 4-0 before all was said and done.
The Nats didn’t go quietly.
In the sixth against reliever Chris Hatcher, Adam LaRoche singled with one out and went to second on Wilson Ramos’ single to right. Ian Desmond then drew a walk. After Kevin Frandsen struck out, Nate McLouth came up with one of his biggest hits of the year a double to right, which scored LaRoche and Ramos.
The Marlins brought in Dan Jennings, and he promptly walked pinch-hitter Danny Espinosa. Miami first baseman Garrett Jones then misplayed Denard Span’s routine grounder to first — all hands were safe — and Desmond scored on the play to make it 4-3.
Ramos tied it up in the bottom of the seventh with his first home run of the season.
Neither team would score again until the tenth inning. With Jerry Blevins on the hill, Ed Lucas led off with a single and went to second on a walk by Christian Yelich. Dietrich sacrificed the runners up to second and third, and Blevins intentionally walked Stanton.
McGehee came through for Miami, singling to left to plate Lucas, then Reed Johnson followed with a double to right, scoring Yelich and Stanton. Donovan Solano capped the scoring with a single off Aaron Barrett, which brought McGehee in.
The Nats mustered one run in the bottom of the inning, with Anthony Rendon scoring on Adam LaRoche’s sacrifice fly, but it was too little, too late.