WASHINGTON (AP) — Luis Arráez led off the game with his sixth homer and scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error in the ninth inning as the Miami Marlins completed their first four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 6-4 win on Sunday.
Sandy Alcantara worked eight strong innings as the Marlins moved three games over .500 in September for the first time in a full season since their 73-69 start in 2010. Miami entered Sunday's action one game back in the race for the third and final wild-card berth in the National League.
“You hope to come in here and win a series," manager Skip Schumaker said. "Four out of four was kind of icing on the cake. The way we pitched today and this series was why we won all four of those games, and our offense came alive.”
With the game tied at 4 in the ninth, the Marlins moved ahead as Arráez scored on an errant throw on an attempted double play ball on Jazz Chisholm Jr.'s grounder to first. Later in the inning, Miami added an insurance run when a pop into shallow right field by Bryan De La Cruz fell for a hit and Chisholm scored.
Arráez went 2 for 4 and scored twice. He raised his major league-leading batting average to .356, 15 points higher than the Texas Rangers' Corey Seager (.341).
“I feel a little tired because we are human, but I am glad I am healthy," Arráez said. "I just do the same what I do to starting the year. I had struggling months, but it's past. I’m a human. I’m not perfect. I just go there and try to do my job.”
Miami jumped out to a three-run lead in the top of the first on the strength of Arráez's 375-foot opening homer and two walks with the bases loaded as Nationals starter Josiah Gray struggled at the outset. In the first, the 25-year-old right-hander gave up three hits and three walks. Gray has had trouble with his command the last six starts, issuing 20 walks, and has not recorded a victory since July 22.
Gray lasted four innings, allowing three runs on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts. He threw 86 pitches, 51 for strikes.
Alcantara (7-12) gave up a homer to Lane Thomas in the bottom of the first, but prevented the Nationals from any long rallies. He scattered nine hits, allowed four runs, two earned, struck out three and walked two. He threw 94 pitches, 63 for strikes.
“I feel good about it," Alcantara said. "First inning, I tried to come out and compete pitch by pitch. I get into trouble in the fifth inning, but that didn’t stop me to keep fighting. I throw eight innings and we win the game.”
The Marlins have won each of Alcantara’s last eight starts against the Nationals, dating to September 2021.
Tanner Scott worked the ninth inning and earned his fourth save.
Thomas went 3 for 5 with his 23rd homer of the season and drove in a pair of runs. Kyle Finnegan (6-4) took the loss.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Rainey continues his rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester as he returns from Tommy John surgery. Manager Dave Martinez says Rainey will have a few more outings.
“He is feeling better,” Martinez said. “He was a little achy after his last outing, but he said he thought that was going to be the norm."
Marlins: Open a series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday with LHP Jesus Luzardo (9-8, 3.62 ERA) scheduled to start. Luzardo is coming off two scoreless outings in a row.
Nationals: After a day off Monday, open a two-game set against the New York Mets on Tuesday night. LHP Patrick Corbin (9-12, 4.90 ERA) makes his first start at Nats Park since August 17.
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