By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) — The mood was subdued Wednesday night at Marlins Park, where the home team gave a small crowd little to cheer about.
Miami fell to 1-7 at home, mustering just five hits and losing to the Washington Nationals 3-1.
"Anytime you don’t hit, you come out real flat," manager Don Mattingly said. "We’re not getting guys out there. When that’s going on, it’s always a battle. They were just kind of keeping us down."
Four Nationals relievers combined to pitch seven innings after starter Joe Ross departed with a blister. Miami’s lone run came on Derek Dietrich’s first homer in the fifth.
The Marlins have totaled one run in the past two games, and the offense has sputtered through the start of the season. Justin Bour is batting .225, Giancarlo Stanton is at .224, J.T. Realmuto is at .205 and Marcell Ozuna is at .196.
"We need to start putting better at-bats together more consistently, one after another," Dietrich said. "It’s nice when you get a big hit, but you’ve got to get guys on base consistently."
Wei-Yin Chen (0-1) pitched seven innings, a season high for Miami, and allowed three runs.
"Today I was happy I could do damage control," the Taiwanese left-hander said through an interpreter. "I allowed some runs but not any big innings. That’s the thing I’m happy about. It wasn’t a perfect outing, but I’ll work harder."
Yusmeiro Petit (1-0) allowed one run in four innings as Ross’ replacement, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched around a two-out single in the ninth for his sixth save, striking out Stanton for the final out.
"That was a big-time job by Petit and all our bullpen," manager Dusty Baker said. "We were sitting on the edge of our seats."
Stanton went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He has fanned 20 times in 49 at-bats this year.
Ross said the middle finger on his pitching hand began to bother him when he threw a slider in the first inning. He has a blister problem before, and said the worst-case scenario is that he might miss one start.
"I think it should be fine, hopefully," he said.
The NL East-leading Nationals won even though they had only seven hits and went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position. They improved to 6-2 on the road with one game left in a seven-game trip.
Michael Taylor homered, MLB RBI leader Bryce Harper doubled home a run and MLB batting leader Daniel Murphy went 2 for 4 to raise his average to .429.
Harper hit a two-out double in the third for his 21st RBI, scoring Ross from first base for a 2-0 lead.
Taylor homered with two outs in the fifth. Baker noted that Taylor’s mother was in attendance.
"He usually does something when his mom is in the stands," Baker said. "We might have to bring Mom with us."
Ryan Zimmerman put Washington ahead with a two-out, RBI double in the first.
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