WASHINGTON (AP) — Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was happy to rejoin in the fun.
Zimmerman celebrated his return from the injured list with one of Washington’s four home runs and the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 9-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
The 34-year-old Zimmerman, who was reinstated Sunday after missing 36 games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, connected for a two-run shot to give the Nationals a 6-3 lead in the sixth inning.
“I’ve hit home runs before, so it’s not a huge deal,” Zimmerman said. “Being back out there with the guys and just being part of the game, it was fun.”
Washington has had a lot of fun of late. The NL Wild Card leader has won four straight, nine of 10, and 19 of 24 as they continue to put a 19-31 start behind them.
“When we started enjoying the game and started joking in here, it’s like everything changed,” cleanup hitter Juan Soto said of Washington’s turnaround. “The game. Dancing with the homers. Dancing after the games. It’s amazing.”
Following his home run, Zimmerman joined the dance craze with what looked like an old man using a walker.
“I don’t know, man. Just…I’m old,” he said. “Dancing’s not really my thing but got to do it.”
During a pitching change later that inning, the “Simba-cam” showed parents in the stands holding up their babies. When it panned to the Washington dugout, Victor Robles was seen lifting Adam Eaton in a similar manner.
On the field, Soto and Anthony Rendon each homered for the second consecutive game, while Yan Gomes also had a home run.
Rendon set a new Nationals (2005-present) single-season record for RBIs with 111. Vladimir Guerrero holds the franchise record of 131 set in 1999 when the team was in Montreal.
Rendon finished the three-game series 7 for 10 with three homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored. Soto went 7 for 12 with five doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four runs.
Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (11-6) allowed three runs on three hits over six innings. He struck out eight and walked three.
Starlin Castro homered for Miami, which saw its franchise-record road losing streak extend to 15 games.
Starter Caleb Smith (8-9) gave up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Corbin retired the first 12 Marlins before Castro led off the fifth with his 16th homer. The next three Marlins reached base and Bryan Holaday’s sacrifice fly put Miami ahead 3-2.
Trea Turner reached on an infield single in the fifth and with two outs Rendon homered to left center to put Washington back on top and surpass Zimmerman (110 RBIs in 2006) for the team RBI mark.
“We take the lead right there. It felt a little bit after that next inning (like) it’s tortoise and the hare,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We kind of catch up and they just kind of took off again. The next three innings I think they score.”
In the sixth, Howie Kendrick led off with a double and Zimmerman and Gomes hit back-to-back home runs to increase Washington’s lead to 7-3.
Corbin joined Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in reaching 200 strikeouts for the season. It’s the first time in Nationals/Expos franchise history the team has had three pitchers with 200-plus strikeouts. The last National League team to do it was the 1969 Houston Astros (Larry Dierker, Don Wilson and Tom Griffin).
WELCOME TO DC
The Nationals recalled catcher Raudy Read from Triple-A Fresno, infielder Adrián Sanchez from Double-A Harrisburg and outfielder Andrew Stevenson from Double-A Harrisburg.
Marlins: RHP pitcher Jose Urena (left lower back strain) was reinstated from the 60-day injured list. . RHP Tayron Guerrero (torn fingernail on his right middle finger) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. . INF Miguel Rojas (right hamstring strain) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list.
Nationals: RHP Sean Doolittle (right knee tendinitis) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. Manager Dave Martinez said Doolittle will begin by pitching in low leverage situations. Doolittle pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. . RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right shoulder strain) was reinstated from the 60-day injured list. . RHP Austin Voth (right bicep tendinitis) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara (4-12, 4.22) starts when the Marlins open a three-game series at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He’s lost a career-high six straight decisions over 11 starts.
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (3-3, 5.36) is 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA over his past five starts. He pitches the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Mets on Monday.
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