Florida at Washington

W: I. Valdez (2-1) L: D. Rasner (0-1)
S: T. Jones (35)
HR: FLA - L. Castillo (4)   WAS - B. Wilkerson (11)

Castillo steps up to lift Marlins past Nationals

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

WASHINGTON -- As good as Florida's pitching has been, a victory in a game started by Ismael Valdez felt like a bonus.

Valdez combined with two relievers on a five-hitter for his first win in more than a month, and Luis Castillo went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in a rare chance to lead off, lifting the Marlins past the Washington Nationals 4-2 Tuesday night.

"No question, it pumps us up. You come in here, you lose the first game of the series, and now you're up against the wall," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "It's nice to come out of this one and have one of your top pitchers going the next one, then another top pitcher the next one."

That would be Dontrelle Willis, who will try to become the franchise's first 20-game winner Wednesday, followed by 2003 World Series MVP Josh Beckett on Thursday.

The Nationals, meanwhile, have lost two starters to injuries, so on Tuesday they sent Darrell Rasner to the mound in his major league debut. He didn't make it out of the third inning, giving up three runs on four hits and taking the loss.

Five relievers followed, but none went longer than two innings, so the bullpen should be ready to work Wednesday if another Nationals spot starter -- lefty John Halama -- doesn't go deep.

"We'll go through the whole staff again tomorrow," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "I'm not thinking long term, right now. I'm thinking about trying to win that one tomorrow. It's going to be a handful in itself."

Not an ideal situation for a club trying to stay in a playoff race.

With Houston's 2-1 victory at Philadelphia, Florida moved past the Phillies and into second place in the NL wild-card standings, one game behind the Astros. The Nationals dropped to 2½ games off the pace.

Florida and Washington count on their pitching -- both rank in the NL's top six in team ERA. But Valdez (2-1) missed much of the season with a broken right leg, came in with a 4.36 ERA, and his only previous victory of 2005 came Aug. 1.

"That's the guy we have to beat," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "We expected to win tonight. It's going to be tough tomorrow and the day after."

Valdez represents the latest in a series of unheralded starters who have silenced Washington, which had won three straight games.

He limited the Nationals to three hits in five innings, the only damage coming on Brad Wilkerson's 11th homer, a two-run shot in the third.

That cut Florida's lead to 3-2, but Washington only got one more runner as far as second base. Brian Moehler threw three innings of one-hit ball, and Todd Jones got three outs in the ninth for his 35th save -- and 25th in a row.

"I just keep my mouth shut and keep going," Jones said, "because I don't want this to end."

Given his recent form, it wasn't all that surprising Washington couldn't produce a comeback in front of an announced crowd of 24,936, the second-lowest of the club's first season in D.C.

And, frankly, it shouldn't have been surprising that Rasner had trouble, straight from Double-A Harrisburg. He had to share a locker with fellow call-up Travis Hughes in the cramped home clubhouse.

After getting through two innings without allowing a hit, Rasner's curveball deserted him. Damion Easley doubled in the third, and scored on a first-pitch single up the middle by Castillo, leading off the order for just the ninth time this season. Jeremy Hermida followed with a double to right, making it 2-0. When Juan Encarnacion smacked an RBI double, that was it for Rasner -- 55 pitches over 2 2/3 innings.

"My stuff wasn't as sharp as it was the first two innings. Just a struggle that last inning," Rasner said. "I'm excited to get this opportunity, and I wish it could have been a little better for this ballclub."

In the fifth, Castillo greeted Mike Stanton by hitting the lefty reliever's first pitch for his fourth homer of the year.

"He put the ball too high," Castillo said.


Florida SS Alex Gonzalez said an MRI exam on his right elbow revealed a bone bruise. He'll rest it, then start throwing next week, he said. ... 3B Vinny Castilla's fielding miscue in the second ended Washington's streak of errorless games at nine, one short of the franchise record. 2B Jamey Carroll made an error in the eighth. ... Washington's Brian Schneider caught Castillo and Juan Pierre on steal attempts -- the first catcher to throw out both in the same game since Washington's Gary Bennett did it on April 18. Schneider has caught 28 of 71 would-be basestealers, a majors-high 39 percent.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

L. Castillo
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1

J. Encarnacion
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0

Related Video

Florida Marlins
Luis Castillo, 2B4232101 .303
Jeremy Hermida, LF4111002 .333
    Mike Lowell, 3B1000002 .233
Miguel Cabrera, 3B-LF4020001 .328
Carlos Delgado, 1B3000103 .289
    Jeff Conine, 1B0000000 .303
Juan Encarnacion, RF4011003 .297
Paul Lo Duca, C4000015 .292
Juan Pierre, CF4020001 .266
Damion Easley, SS4110021 .230
Ismael Valdez, P1000000 .222
    Brian Moehler, P1000000 .083
   a- Lenny Harris, PH0000000 .295
    Todd Jones, P0000000 .500
a-hit by pitch for Moehler in the 9th
2B - Jeremy Hermida (1, Rasner), Juan Encarnacion (24, Rasner), Damion Easley (18, Rasner)
HR - Luis Castillo (4, Stanton)
SH - Ismael Valdez (3)
RBI - Luis Castillo 2 (30), Jeremy Hermida (5), Juan Encarnacion (72)
2-OUT RBI - Juan Encarnacion (34)
CS - Luis Castillo (7, 2nd base by Hughes/Schneider), Juan Pierre (15, 2nd base by Bergmann/Schneider)
Team LOB - 7
Florida Marlins
Ismael Valdez (W,2-1) 5322211 4.26
Brian Moehler (H,1) 3100010 3.89
Todd Jones (S,35) 1100020 1.15
HBP - Guillen (by Ismael Valdez)
Pitches-Strikes - Ismael Valdez 86-52, Brian Moehler 37-26, Todd Jones 23-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ismael Valdez 5-9, Brian Moehler 3-5
Batters Faced - Ismael Valdez 21, Brian Moehler 10, Todd Jones 4
Washington Nationals
Brad Wilkerson, 1B4112011 .251
Marlon Byrd, LF4010000 .271
Jose Guillen, RF3000010 .299
Preston Wilson, CF4000000 .257
Vinny Castilla, 3B4010002 .249
    Kenny Kelly, PR0000000 .333
Brian Schneider, C4010011 .276
Deivi Cruz, 2B-SS3000001 .266
   a- Carlos Baerga, PH1000011 .259
Cristian Guzman, SS1000100 .196
   b- Brandon Watson, PH1000000 .167
    Gary Majewski, P0000000 .000
    Hector Carrasco, P0000000 .000
   c- Ryan Zimmerman, PH1000001 .333
Darrell Rasner, P0000000 .000
    Jason Bergmann, P0100100 .500
   d- Jose Vidro, PH1000002 .270
    Mike Stanton, P0000000 .000
    Travis Hughes, P0000000 .000
   e- Jamey Carroll, PH-2B1010000 .244
a-struck out for Cruz in the 9th
b-lined out for Guzman in the 7th
c-flied out for Carrasco in the 9th
d-fouled out for Bergmann in the 4th
e-singled for Hughes in the 7th
2B - Brian Schneider (20, Valdez)
HR - Brad Wilkerson (11, Valdez)
RBI - Brad Wilkerson 2 (50)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Castilla-Cruz-Wilkerson, Schneider-Cruz, Cruz-Guzman-Wilkerson
E - Jamey Carroll (5, Misplayed grounder), Vinny Castilla (9, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
Darrell Rasner (L,0-1) 2.2433210 10.13
Jason Bergmann 1.1100010 0.00
Mike Stanton 1211001 5.40
Travis Hughes 2100010 0.00
Gary Majewski 1100000 2.70
Hector Carrasco 1100000 1.98
IBB - Delgado by Darrell Rasner
HBP - Harris (by Hector Carrasco)
Pitches-Strikes - Darrell Rasner 55-29, Jason Bergmann 6-3, Mike Stanton 14-8, Travis Hughes 20-14, Gary Majewski 19-14, Hector Carrasco 26-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Darrell Rasner 4-3, Jason Bergmann 1-1, Mike Stanton 1-1, Travis Hughes 2-2, Gary Majewski 2-2, Hector Carrasco 2-1
Batters Faced - Darrell Rasner 14, Jason Bergmann 4, Mike Stanton 4, Travis Hughes 6, Gary Majewski 5, Hector Carrasco 5
Game Information
Attendance - 24936
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Tim McClelland, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Mike Everitt