Roark gem; Difo and Reynolds go long and Reynolds also does it on defense!

Photo from Nationals Instagram

The Marlins held a 1-0 lead into the 8th inning as Wei-Yin Chen was cruising with a shutout but his record says as his pitch count grows he can get in trouble. Sure enough Wilmer Difo pulled a pitch just over the fence next to the foul pole for the game tying run. The Marlins mounted an 8th inning comeback which was thwarted by Mark Reynolds on defense cutting down the speedy Cameron Maybin at the plate. New call-up Justin Miller then got the 3rd out to preserve the tie. In the top of the 9th inning, Mark Reynolds hit a righty/righty blast off of Marlins closer Brad Ziegler for the game winning run and the Nats managed to add on two more for a 3-run lead.

The Nationals clinch this series with this 4-to-1 come from behind win. Tanner Roark threw a 7 inning gem and exited the game in a 1-to-0 deficit, but most important he kept his team in it. The Nationals could not put anything together until the 8th inning — but that is the mark of a great team to persevere and play to the last out. That is what they did and Sean Doolittle closed the game out for his 11th save of the season.

“Tanner pitched unbelievable,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He kept us in the ballgame.”

Choose your player of the game from Roark, Difo and Reynolds then add in Matt Adams big pinch-hit RBI single and Trea Turner‘s 2-hits and great defense on the day. Juan Soto bounced back nicely himself with a 2-for-4 day and both hits were doubles. On a day when Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon in the 2 and 3 hole were a combined 0-for-8, other players stepped up and got it done.

With Brandon Kintzler unavailable, manager Dave Martinez went with Tim Collins to start the 8th inning. Collins was not good and the inning escalated to High Leverage, and Martinez brought the infield in with runners on the corners and one-out, and Justin Bour grounded hard to Mark Reynolds who cut the speedy runner out at the plate for the 2nd out of the inning. Justin Miller finished the 8th inning and struck out the ‘hot’ Starlin Castro for the 3rd out on 3-pitches as he went with three straight 4-seam fastballs from 93.6 mph to 94.9 mph pitches.

With Mark Reynolds 9th inning home run, he is now homering at a pace of 1 home run per ever 5.4 at-bats which is a pace of about 120 home runs for a full season.

“All it takes sometimes is one swing to get a little energy in the club, and Difo did that for us today,” Mark Reynolds said.

The lead in the NL East changed today as the Philadelphia Phillies have taken over the top spot from the Atlanta Braves. The Nationals are now just a game and a half out of first place.

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