Offense does heavy lifting in support of Scherzer in 9-5 win

MIAMI - A late offensive surge helped the Nationals pull away from the Marlins in a 9-5 series-opening win at Marlins Park.

From the sixth to the eighth innings, the Nats scored seven runs on seven hits and two errors, turning a 2-2 tie into a 9-5 victory.

The offense exploded for seven runs on seven hits, taking advantage of two Marlins errors to put the game away in the late stages.

“If we start hitting the ball like we are capable of hitting, good things are going to happen, obviously,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez. “It will give our bullpen the break they need. Starting pitchers will get them a break, as well. All-around good effort by everybody today.”

Call it a thank-you to starter Max Scherzer, who was a little more hittable than usual.

Scherzer had allowed only 13 earned runs in his previous 10 starts. On Friday, he gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings, and was taxed to 114 pitches. He struck out four and walked two.

It was the most runs Scherzer had allowed in 13 regular season starts dating to Sept. 13 of last season against the Braves, which he was tagged for seven runs.

The offense for one of the few times this season, did the heavy lifting for their starter.

Taylor-HR-Trot-Gray-Sidebar.jpgMichael A. Taylor and Matt Adams slammed two-run shots. Taylor’s homer to left came in the second and Adams’ blast over the center field wall broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth.

It was Taylor’s first homer in May and first since April 29. Adams has 12 homers on the season, which is second on the team behind Bryce Harper’s 15.

Taylor was launching home runs over the center field wall during batting practice. He was able to carry that good feeling at the plate into the game.

“Felt really good,” Taylor said. “BP felt good today. My cage work is definitely getting better. I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.”

The biggest hit of the night came from Harper, who laced a two-run double just inside the third base line to give the Nats a 7-4 lead in the seventh.

“Just trying to get another pitch over the plate,” Harper said. “Got that and hit that double, scores a couple of runs and happy we won the ball game. Put (Nick) Wittgren on the ropes a little bit, did what we needed to do to get some runs up there.”

Anthony Rendon went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Taylor, Andrew Stevenson and Wilmer Difo each scored two runs.

Scherzer (8-1) had trouble getting Martin Prado out. Prado had two doubles and a single, but had to depart in the sixth with a left hamstring strain. Miguel Rojas delivered a two-run single to center field that tied the game in the fourth. Derek Dietrich crushed a two-run shot into the second deck to tie the game again in the sixth.

“I felt they had a good approach against me,” Scherzer said. “I could tell that they were really gunning to take away some of the things I could do and that’s what happens when you face divisional opponents. They’ve seen you before. They know what to take away. And that’s where I tip my hat.”

In the seventh, the Nats employed four relievers to get three outs. But the Marlins managed only one run on two hits in that frame and Brandon Kintzler and Sean Doolittle recorded the final 2 1/3 innings to seal the win. Doolittle earned his 10th save.

Taylor also made a very nice catch up against the center field wall on Lewis Brinson’s deep fly ball to begin the third.

“I felt like I had a bead on it,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t sure how well it was carrying out there. It was a little challenging with the ceiling. I lost it for a second. Felt good going back on it.”

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