Nats try to avoid Marlins’ brooms

( – Washington left-hander Gio Gonzales tries to build off
his best start of the season on Sunday when the Nationals close out their
three-game set with the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park.

Gonzalez split his first two decisions, but scattered eight hits over six
scoreless innings in a no-decision against St. Louis on Tuesday. He also
walked four and struck out four.

“He gave us a chance to win and he left the game with the lead,” Nationals
manager Matt Williams said.

Miami, meanwhile, will turn to veteran Dan Haren, who is 1-1 with a 2.32 ERA.
Haren lost to Philadelphia on Tuesday, as he gave up four runs and four hits
– two home runs – in six innings.

Haren has surrendered five home runs this season.

“I mean, all the runs I’ve given up this year (seven) have been on home runs
(five),” Haren said. “I mean, literally. I try to minimize the damage, but
what can you do? Usually you get away with solo home runs, but the walks ended
up hurting me. I missed on a couple of pitches and I paid the price.”

Haren is 3-3 with a 2.76 ERA in seven games (6 starts) versus the Nationals.

Miami won its fifth straight game on Saturday, as Tom Koehler tossed 7 1/3
scoreless innings and outdueled Stephen Strasburg to guide the Marlins to an
8-0 win.

“We had a rough stretch where we all kind of struggled, but I think everyone
is getting their footing and we’re hoping for more performances like this
going forward,” said Koehler.

Giancarlo Stanton clubbed a solo home run among his three hits, Adeiny
Hechavarria added a three-run shot to extend his hit streak to eight games and
Justin Bour had a pair of RBI singles in his season debut.

Strasburg (1-2), who entered Saturday’s game with a 14-inning scoreless streak
against the Marlins, was charged with four runs on eight hits over six innings
of work.

Yunel Escobar, Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos all had two hits in Washington’s
fourth consecutive defeat.

“Definitely wasn’t our day today,” said Werth. “The intent is there. We come
in every day ready to go. It just needs to turn for us.”

Washington was 13-6 versus the Marlins last season.