MIAMI - On the night the Nationals clinched a third-place finish in the National League East for the first time, it looked like they had also cost themselves a chance at their first winning season.
Taking a 3-2 lead over the Marlins into the fifth inning, they allowed Florida to tie the game when Craig Stammen threw a wild pitch. The Marlins went ahead for good in the seventh, after Gaby Sanchez singled to right off Todd Coffey and Jayson Werth bobbled the ball while trying to pick it up. They were two strikes away from their 81st loss of the season on Monday night. But then Michael Morse struck.
The slugger hit one of the bigger homers of his revelatory season, putting a three-run shot in the upper deck at Sun Life Stadium to put the Nationals ahead of the Marlins 6-4 in the ninth inning.
Morse's shot off Edward Mujica left the park as though it was late for an appointment, and it followed his two-run shot to right center on Sunday as another display of his tremendous power. Henry Rodriguez pitched the ninth inning to get his second save and give Drew Storen a night off.
The Nationals tied a franchise record with their ninth straight road win, and will try to reach .500 with a win tomorrow. More from the clubhouse in a little bit.