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MIA@WSH: Werth smacks a grand slam as Nats take lead

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals came back from a five-run deficit and defeated the Marlins, 10-7, thanks in large part to Jayson Werth's grand slam on Wednesday night at Nationals Park. The Nats have now won six of their first eight games of the season.

The Nationals were down, 7-6, when they took the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning off reliever Carlos Marmol. With one out, Marmol hit pinch-hitter Nate McLouth with a pitch. Next thing you know, the Nationals had runners on second third. Denard Span followed McLouth and bunted for a hit and took an extra base because of the throwing error by third baseman Derek Dietrich.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond then decided to intentionally walk Anthony Rendon, which loaded the bases for Werth. One could wonder why Redmond put Rendon on base. Rendon is Washington's hottest hitter, going 13-for-31 [.419].

In stepped Werth to the plate. The first pitch was a called strike, which angered Werth.

"When the game is on the line, you want to come through for your teammates." Werth said.

And Werth did come through. On the next pitch he hit the ball into the bullpen for a grand slam.

"I never felt out of this game," Werth said. "If you look at the way we played last year during the second half and the way we play so far this year, that can become an identity for sure. We have to keep going, keep pressing, take opportunities when they give them to us and keep winning ball games."

Said Marmol about the grand slam: "I was trying to go in and get a ground ball. The ball stayed in the middle, and he hit it [well]."

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had an outing he would like to forget, lasting 1 2/3 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits. Miami scored the five runs over the first two innings.

In the first, Giancarlo Stanton had an RBI single, while Garrett Jones had a sacrifice fly that scored Christian Yelich.

An inning later, Miami made it a 5-0 game off Zimmermann. Yelich had an RBI single, while Dietrich hit a two-run homer.

"I was terrible and the fastball was all over the place," Zimmermann said. "I walked a few guys. That's not like me. I couldn't get a very good feel. I fell behind guys and when you fall behind, you have to come back with a fastball and the Marlins are a good fastball hitting team."

But it was the relievers -- Craig Stammen and Ross Detwiler -- who stopped the bleeding and allowed the Nationals to come back. They pitched a combined 4 1/3 innings without allowing a run. After the second inning, the Marlins collected two hits against them.

"Any time your starter doesn't give you what he ... expects, ... you have to use your bullpen," manager Matt Williams said. "Our luxury is that we have two guys [down in the bullpen] that can do that -- one from each side. That's the difference in the game."

As always, Stammen was humble when talking about his outing in which he pitched 3 1/3 innings without allowing a run. He tried to pitch as many innings as he could to save the bullpen. Stammen had a feeling he would come into the game because Zimmermann threw 34 pitches after one inning.

"[Zimmermann] is the one guy you could always count on for six or seven innings," Stammen said. "We have to back him the way we back up all the other starters."

The Nationals made their comeback in the fourth inning against left-hander Brad Hand. It was Bryce Harper who got them back in the game with a three-run homer that landed in the upper deck. The umpires initially ruled it a homer, but checked on replay to be sure. They determined that the call should stand.

In the following inning, the Nationals made it a one-run game against right-hander Kevin Slowey. After Rendon hit a one-out triple, Werth grounded out to third baseman Casey McGehee, but Rendon scored on the play.

The Nationals took the lead off Slowey in the sixth. Ryan Zimmerman led off with a double and came home on a single by Ian Desmond. Two batters later, the Nationals had runners on first and third, when Jose Lobaton hit a a slow roller that pitcher Dan Jennings had problems fielding, allowing Desmond to score the go-ahead run.

But the Marlins managed to tie the game off right-hander Drew Storen in the seventh inning when Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a long home run over the center-field wall to tie the game at 6.

The Marlins would take the lead again against right-hander Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning. With runners on first and second and one out, Jones hit the ball past first baseman Adam LaRoche and that allowed Yelich to score.

The Nationals have four come-from-behind victories this season and it's only the second week of the 2014 campaign.

"We are just trying to win the game. We are fighting the whole game just like we were tonight," Stammen said. "I think when they walked Rendon to get to J-Dub [Werth], it fired him up a little bit. It was kind of fun for the whole team to celebrate after getting the home run."

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