Ruiz homers and Bell stays hot, but Gray struggles in latest loss to Marlins (Updated)

Some teams just have your number. The Marlins seem to be one of those teams for the Nationals this year. 

For the first time since May 24, Josiah Gray allowed more than two runs in an outing on Friday night and the Nats fell to 1-9 on the season against the Marlins with a 6-3 loss at Nationals Park. 

The outing started out strong, just like the last five for Gray. He retired the first six batters in order and even struck out the side in the second inning. 

The Marlins were able to get to the young right-hander in the third inning, though, plating three runs. Brian Anderson kicked off the frame with a solo homer over the left field wall. Two outs later, Jon Berti walked and swiped his league-leading 23rd bag of the season before scoring on Joey Wendle’s single to left field. The two-out rally continued after Garrett Cooper ripped a line-drive double, allowing Wendle to score from first and make it 3-0 Marlins. 

Washington scratched across a run in the fourth inning. Juan Soto got into an 0-2 hole before working a walk to lead off the inning. Josh Bell moved Soto over to third on a single to right field before Soto scored when Nelson Cruz grounded into a double-play, cutting the deficit to 3-1. 

Bell, by the way, remains on an absolute heater at the plate. After hitting .358 with a 1.142 OPS in June, the Nats first baseman began July with a 2-for-4 night. 

Bell now has 27 multi-hit games this season, which is the most among first basemen in the major leagues. The one-time All-Star continues to strengthen his case for another selection this year. He currently ranks top-five in the National League with a .321 batting average and is hitting an outrageous .576 (15-for-26) in his last seven games.

As a team, the Nats mustered just five hits off Trevor Rogers and the Miami bullpen.

Ehire Adrianza replaced Victor Robles in the outfield in the top of the fifth inning after Robles appeared to be shaken up during his first at-bat in the fourth inning. Manager Davey Martinez said after the game that Robles is day-to-day.

“He’s sore … got a nice contusion. He took X-rays and everything was negative.” Martinez said. “He’s got a nice lump on his (left) shin.”

In the fifth inning Miguel Rojas doubled, stole third base and scored on a sac fly from Berti, extending the Marlins lead to 4-1. 

Miami added two more insurance runs in the sixth inning. The Marlins knocked four consecutive singles off Gray to start the sixth inning, including the second RBI of the game from Anderson. A couple batters later, Berti brought home his second RBI on a forceout to second baseman César Hernández. Erasmo Ramírez replaced Gray with two outs and the bases loaded. 

Gray went 5 ⅔ innings, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs while striking out six batters over 95 pitches. 

“We gotta get him to continue to work ahead, throw strikes … It wasn’t like he threw the ball awful, but he fell behind,” Martinez said about the 24-year-old pitcher. “I keep track of every game with him and when he’s ahead, he’s nasty.”

The Nats got out of the sixth inning when Keibert Ruiz connected with Bell for a beautiful pick-off play at first base. Shockingly, after the play was reviewed, there was no controversy … this time. 

Ruiz followed his strong play in the field by crushing a two-run homer over the right field wall in the bottom half of the sixth inning, scoring Soto after he led off the frame with a double, and making it 6-3 Marlins. 

“He needs to stay behind the ball better and use his legs,” Martinez said about Ruiz. “It was good to see the ball come off the bat the way it did today.”

Mason Thompson returned to the mound for the first time in 83 days and tossed a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one single. His sinker touched 98 mph and averaged out at 97. Martinez was happy with the way Thompson threw it. 

“Good. Really good ... His slider was better,” Martinez said about Thompson's return. “That’s something we talked to him about, being not afraid to throw it and that was good to see.”

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