THE WASHINGTON Nationals' comeback victory against Jose Fernandez felt well-deserved, even if the pivotal runs were unearned.
Jayson Werth hit a tying three-run homer off Fernandez after Miami Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia committed two errors in the sixth inning, and the visiting Nationals went on to win, 6-3, last night.
"Tonight was good for us against a really tough pitcher," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He's an animal, one of the best pitchers in all of baseball."
After the Nationals overcame a 3-0 deficit, pinch-hitter Zach Walters broke a tie in the eighth inning with his second career homer - and his second in as many nights.
Washington took the rubber game of the three-game series despite being without four starters, including Bryce Harper, a late scratch because of a tight left quadriceps that has bothered him since Friday.
Harper is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when the Nationals begin an 11-game homestand against St. Louis.
Fernandez, betrayed by his defense, departed for a pinch-hitter after seven innings. He allowed four hits and three runs, all unearned, with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
The Marlins' precocious ace allowed only one baserunner in the first five innings, but Saltalamacchia's throwing error put runners at first and third with nobody out in the sixth. Fernandez retired the next two batters before Werth stepped to the plate.
"I thought Jose was going to pitch himself out of that," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "He made some great pitches, then just made a mistake and the guy hit it out."
Werth's homer, his third of the season, tied the score at 3.
"I got beat," Fernandez said of his matchup with Werth. "It's part of the game. Obviously not what I wanted to happen, but we learn from it."
Werth's homer deflected off the hands of a fan in the first row of the rightfield seats. The ruling was upheld by a replay review that took only 22 seconds.
"We have the ability to come back because guys grind at-bats and never give up," Williams said.
* At Phoenix, Dillon Gee (1-0) held Arizona to three hits in seven scoreless innings as the New York Mets completed a three-game sweep with a 5-2 victory that extended the Diamondbacks' losing streak to six games.
Arizona finished an 0-6 homestand in which it led at the end of just one inning and dropped to 1-11 at Chase Field. At 4-14, the Diamondbacks are off to their worst 18-game start.
* At Cincinnati, Johnny Cueto (1-2) pitched his third career shutout against the team that beat him in the playoffs, and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer that led the Reds over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-0. Cueto limited the Pirates to three hits and struck out a career-high 12 during his first shutout since 2011.
* At Milwaukee, Wily Peralta (2-0) held St. Louis to one run in 6 1/3 innings, and the Brewers beat the Cardinals, 5-1, to avoid a series sweep. Cardinals starter Joe Kelly (1-1) gave up an unearned run and three hits in four innings. Kelly left in the middle of the fourth inning with left hamstring tightness after trying to beat out a bunt attempt.
* At Baltimore, Miguel Gonzalez (1-1) and two relievers combined on a six-hitter, and the Orioles capitalized on two infield singles by Adam Jones in a 3-0 victory over the punchless Tampa Bay Rays. Jones reached on a bunt in a two-run fourth inning and drove in a run with a 50-foot chop down the third-base line in the fifth.
* At Detroit, Cleveland's Yan Gomes hit a two-run triple in the second inning, Zach McAllister (2-0) held the Tigers to a run and four hits in six innings and the Indians held on for a 3-2 win.
* At Arlington, Texas, Leonys Martin had a game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning as the Texas Rangers scored two unearned runs in a two-out rally against Fernando Rodney, beating the Seattle Mariners, 3-2.
Rodney (0-1) retired the first two in the ninth before Kevin Kouzmanoff's single that ricocheted off the glove of sliding shortstop Brad Miller and dribbled into the outfield. Mitch Moreland drew a walk before pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy's grounder was fielded by Miller, whose toss to second base was high. The error allowed Moreland to slide in safely and extended the game. The tying run came home on a wild pitch by Rodney, who had converted his first three save chances this season. Martin's sharp single to left gave Texas its fourth victory in the final at-bat at home this season.
* At Minneapolis, the scheduled Toronto-Minnesota game was postponed more than 7 hours before it was scheduled to begin, due to the unseasonable cold causing a spring storm to produce blowing snow all afternoon with some accumulation predicted at night. The teams will play a day-night doubleheader today.
* At New York, Michael Pineda followed an overpowering outing by Masahiro Tanaka with one of his own, pitching six innings of four-hit ball as the Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs, 2-0, to complete its first doubleheader shutout sweep since 1987.
Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and allowed just two bunt hits - one replay-aided - over eight innings in a 3-0 win in the opener of the day-night twinbill. Carlos Beltran homered for a third straight game, off Jason Hammel in the first inning of the Cubs' first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium.
Brett Gardner and Scott Sizemore had RBI singles off Travis Wood (0-2) in the nightcap, helping the Yankees win for the fifth time in six games and handing Chicago its fourth straight loss.
The Cubs had not been blanked twice on the same day since Larry Gibson and Ray Sadecki pitched complete games for St. Louis on June 27, 1962.
* Houston called up prized prospect George Springer from Triple A Oklahoma City. The 24-year-old outfielder had 37 homers and 108 RBI with 45 stolen bases combined in Double A and Triple A last year. He was off to a strong start in Triple A this season, too, hitting .353 with three homers and nine RBI. The Astros sent outfielder Robbie Grossman to Oklahoma City, and also reinstated starter Scott Feldman from the bereavement list and designated righthander Lucas Harrell for assignment.
* The Mets called up righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka from Triple A Las Vegas and sent lefthander John Lannan there. Lannan was 1-0 with a 15.25 ERA in five relief appearances.
* Righthander Kevin Slowey will move into the Miami rotation to replace struggling lefthander Brad Hand, who will return to long relief.