Marlins rally past Nationals in 10th inning

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MIAMI — Jazz Chisholm Jr. sprinted around third base and toward home as the throw from Juan Soto came in from right field, then used every last inch as he dived, reaching toward the plate Wednesday night. The umpire offered no call as Chisolm slid, so Washington Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz tagged him out.

Upon review, the call was overturned because Ruiz hadn’t given Chisholm a lane to the plate, tying the score. Jesús Aguilar singled three pitches later, giving the Miami Marlins a wild 2-1 victory in 10 innings when his grounder up the middle bounced off second base and caromed into center field, allowing Willians Astudillo to score after he had moved up to second one play earlier.

“Just a tough break,” Nationals Manager Dave Martinez said. “A ball hits the base, a bloop hit, a close play at home. Just bad breaks.”

In a game controlled by the pitchers — Josiah Gray and the bullpen for the Nationals (21-37) and Sandy Alcantara for the Marlins (24-30) — Ruiz had broken a scoreless tie in the top of the 10th with a single that drove in Luis García. But the Marlins answered in the bottom half to clinch their second win in the opening two games of the series.

Gray and Alcantara had similar pitching lines. Both allowed six hits. Both struck out six. Both allowed no runs. The only difference was Alcantara was much more efficient.

“He’s the best in our league, I think,” Martinez said. “I really do. I mean he’s got good stuff. He was tough all night long. He kept us off balance. You’re not going to see anybody better than that right there.”

Alcantara turned in nine scoreless innings, tossing 84 of 105 pitches for strikes. Gray needed 101 pitches to get through five; that left the game in the hands of the bullpen, which held down the fort until Tanner Rainey blew the save and took the loss in the 10th.

Nats fan completes ‘mission,’ one autographed World Series ball at a time

Gray worked through high-leverage situations most of the night. When he was in a bind in the first three innings, he turned to his breaking pitches.

He allowed two hits in the first inning, and a catcher’s interference call on Ruiz loaded the bases with one out. But Gray struck out Avisaíl García and Jon Berti with sliders outside of the zone.

To end the second, he struck out Chisholm with a curveball, then got Berti for a second time in the third with a slider after the inning’s first two batters singled. But Gray needed 69 pitches to get through three — the Marlins fouled off 17 pitches in that stretch.

Alcantara, meanwhile, tossed just 33 pitches in the first three innings, and a whopping 30 of them went for strikes.

Gray’s slider was just as effective as it was in his previous start in Miami, when he got six of his seven strikeouts with the pitch. Four of his six strikeouts Wednesday came on the slider, and the Marlins whiffed at nine of the 17 that he threw.

“I’d love to go longer than five innings today,” Gray said. “But I’m glad I got my pitch count up to 100. Put some zeros on the board for the team and kept us in a position to win.”

Alcantara, who lowered his ERA to 1.61, had faced the Nationals two other times this season, allowing two runs over 14 innings.

The Nationals managed six hits off Alcantara but had nothing to show for it. Soto doubled on a ball that Jorge Soler misplayed in left field in the sixth, but the rest of Washington’s hits were singles. Two of them came from Ehire Adrianza, who made his first start of the season at third base in place of Maikel Franco.

Alcantara faced the top of the Nationals’ lineup for a fourth time in the eighth and ninth innings — and retired the top six batters in order.

Martinez turned to Kyle Finnegan in the ninth after Steve Cishek and Carl Edwards Jr. combined for three scoreless innings. Finnegan allowed a single and a walk to begin the inning but struck out Chisholm with runners on second and third to send the game to extras.

What’s next for Joan Adon? The Nationals optioned the right-hander to Class AAA Rochester and recalled left-handed reliever Sam Clay. Adon, 23, made the Opening Day roster but struggled, his ERA sitting at 6.95 after 12 starts. He allowed eight runs and seven hits in three-plus innings Tuesday. Martinez said the Nationals wanted Adon to work on his game without the pressure of being in the major leagues.

“This kid’s got a bright future with our organization,” Martinez said. “We love him. He works hard, so I can’t wait till he gets back up here and has a second go-round.”

What was the result of Victor Arano’s MRI exam? The test revealed what Martinez called a “bad bone bruise.” The right-handed reliever was placed on the 15-day injured list Monday with a knee injury suffered when he fell while reaching for a groundball in Sunday’s win at the Cincinnati Reds.

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