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Marlins unable to sweep Nationals, lose 5-0

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Trevor Richards pitches well, but offense suffers sixth shutout of the season.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, as has been the case in every opportunity over the past two seasons, the Marlins fell short of a series sweep, defeated soundly by the Nationals on Sunday afternoon, 5-0.

Both Stephen Strasburg and Trevor Richards brought their stuff, but the pitchers had help. For almost half the game the long flat edge of the roof’s shadow slashed across the infield between home plate and the pitcher’s mound, making it difficult for hitters, in the dark, to see the ball after the pitcher released it in the sun. Starting around the fifth inning, both hitter and pitcher were in the dark for the rest of the game. It certainly didn’t hurt Strasburg. He lasted eight innings and struck out eleven hitters on 104 pitches.

Richards went 6 13 innings, struck out seven, and allowed six hits and three earned runs on 100 pitches.

The Marlins’ offense had an early opportunity in the first. With two outs, Brian Anderson singled, then Neil Walker walked, then Anderson reached third on a passed ball. But the Marlins, who have scored the second fewest runs in the majors, could not convert when Starlin Castro flied out to center.

The scoreless pitcher’s duel was broken up in the fourth when Ryan Zimmerman launched a full-count, two-out homer, his first of the game.

Howie Kendrick made it 2-0 in the sixth when he hammered a deep sacrifice fly to center, which scored Adam Eaton. In the seventh Brian Dozier hit a solo home run far over into left, in nearly the exact same spot as Zimmerman’s. And, in the ninth, Zimmerman hit his second solo shot, this time off Tyler Kinley. Wilmer Difo soon followed with an RBI single against Wei-Yen Chen, scoring Kurt Suzuki.

The Marlins did try to muster a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Anderson and Neil Walker engineered walks against former Marlin Kyle Barraclough.

But Nats skipper Dave Martinez opted to replace Barraclough with closer Sean Doolittle, and after Castro reached first on a fielding error to load the bases, Miguel Rojas flied out to center.

One of the worst offenses in the majors, the Marlins accumulated just the two hits, left six on base, and struck out 13 times. They drop to 6-16 and welcome a day off.

The Marlins face the Indians in Cleveland on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. ET. Pablo López will start against Carlos Carrasco.

Nationals vs. Marlins box score (MLB.com)

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