Zimmerman error costly as Nats lose to Marlins 8-2

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Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) commits a throwing error as he tries to put out Miami Marlins\' Placido Polanco at first base during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Miami. Behind Zimmerman is shortstop Ian Desmond. The Marlins won 8-2. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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MIAMI (AP) — Dan Haren was pitching well for the Washington Nationals until teammate Ryan Zimmerman made another wild throw.

Zimmerman's fourth throwing error in five games led to four unearned runs and helped the Miami Marlins beat the Nationals 8-2 Tuesday night.

All of the third baseman's errors have come in defeats. He underwent right shoulder surgery last offseason but said his arm feels fine.

"That's why it's so frustrating," he said. "It's just a matter of me sticking with it and not mentally getting frustrated."

His latest miscue preceded a three-run homer by Adeiny Hechavarria, which lit up the ballpark's gaudy home run sculpture and ended the Marlins' nine-game home run drought.

"I was beginning to think that the home run sculpture out there wasn't plugged in," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I'm glad that it's working."

The offensively challenged Marlins (3-11) began the game with the worst record in the majors but broke out of a batting slump in the fourth inning with four runs, more than they had scored in all but one game.

The Nationals had been 4-0 against the Marlins this season, outscoring them 21-4.

"Nice to beat those guys," Redmond said. "They've kind of had their way with us so far this year. Nice to put a big number on them."

Haren (1-2) gave up seven runs, three earned, in 4 1-3 innings. He retired nine in a row before Zimmerman's error.

"Up to that point I was rolling, but I have to pick the guy up," Haren said. "That's part of baseball. They pick me up, I pick them up. I'm sure he feels bad about the home run, but I have to be able to pick him up."

As a tribute to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, the crowd of 16,200 sang along to "Sweet Caroline" before the bottom of the eighth inning. The song has been featured at Red Sox home games since 2002.

Both teams were shorthanded, and the Nationals played without three regulars. Bryce Harper and Denard Span sat out with flu-like symptoms, and second baseman Danny Espinosa remained sidelined by a bruised right hand.

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton sat out for the fifth consecutive game because of a bruised left shoulder. He took batting practice and said he felt better, and he might rejoin the lineup Wednesday.

Redmond tweaked the Miami lineup, and Chris Coghlan batted leadoff for the first time since 2011, with Juan Pierre dropped to second in the order. The Marlins responded with a season-high run total and 11 hits.

The Marlins had help. The game was scoreless in the fourth when Placido Polanco reached with one out on the latest wild throw by Zimmerman.

"That was an easy throw," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "He took his time and it got away from him. What he went through in the offseason with the rehab, I said he was not going to feel completely comfortable until June."

Washington scored twice in the sixth on doubles by Adam LaRoche, Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi.

Miami's Justin Ruggiano had two hits and three RBIs, Greg Dobbs contributed a bases-loaded walk and run-scoring single, and Pierre totaled three hits and hiked his average to .222.

Redmond said Hechavarria's homer provided the kick-start the Marlins needed.

"We've been waiting for a big hit for a while," he said. "We knew it was going to come. We didn't know who it was going to come from.

"It was big for everybody. I think for everybody, it was like, 'All right, here we go' — a nice sigh and a little bit of relief."

NOTES: The Nationals' Roger Bernadina reached second base in the fifth inning when Sanabia fielded his tapper and threw wildly, but Bernadina was ruled out for running inside the first-base line. ... After the game, the Marlins optioned C Kyle Skipworth to Triple-A New Orleans. 1B Joe Mahoney will be reinstated from the disabled list Wednesday. ... Marlins reserve OF Austin Kearns received clearance to play after missing two games and undergoing tests for an irregular heartbeat. He struck out pinch-hitting in the sixth. ... The Marlins still have no saves.

 
 
 

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