MIAMI -- Dontrelle Willis got his first win of the season in his worst outing.
"The resilience of the team showed tonight," Willis said. "We could have packed it in early, especially the way they were hitting the ball. We didn't. We kept the game close."
Willis (1-0), 22-10 last year, had no-decisions and received little offensive support in his first two starts. He improved his career April record to 9-0 despite giving up three runs (two earned), eight hits, two walks and three hit batters in 5 2/3 innings.
"When he's trying to put guys away, he's going to throw some back-foot sliders," Girardi said. "Tonight he hit a couple of back feet."
Joe Borowski worked the ninth for his first save.
Ryan Drese (0-2) left because of a sore right elbow with two outs and two on in the fifth. The Nationals plan to place Drese on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.
"It makes it very difficult because we're not real deep in the first place," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "It's not easy to lose front-line people. We can't afford it."
Drese was charged with four runs, four hits and four walks.
"I felt good all night, but those two last pitches, something happened," Drese said. "It was pretty painful -- I've never felt anything like this before, so I don't know how to describe it."
"They did a great job of making me throw some pitches early," Willis said. "After they scored their first two runs, I just wanted to keep it close and not turn into a five- or six-run inning."
"I finally got a bunt down -- I can't remember the last time I did that," said Willis, a good hitting pitcher who batted as high as seventh last season under former manager Jack McKeon said.
Aguila's two-out, two-run double in the fourth gave Florida a 3-2 lead.
"We want every pitcher on our staff to know we're going to battle for them," Aguila said. "Dontrelle worked his butt off, and once he came out of the game, it was our job to keep that lead and keep working hard for him."
Cabrera's two-out single in the fifth scored Hanley Ramirez to give the Marlins a 4-2 lead.
Willingham led off the bottom of the eighth with his third home run of the season.
Not only did the Nationals' poor start continue, Washington had three players get injured -- Drese, Jose Guillen (strained left oblique in batting practice) and Jose Vidro (tight left hamstring in the sixth).
"We didn't expect to be 2-9, nothing is going our way," Vidro said. "The energy is there. Guys are relaxed. Guys are playing hard, for some reason we're not getting wins."
Ramirez went 0-for-3 with a walk, snapping an eight-game hitting streak.
- Florida announced it had returned Rule 5 draft pick LHP Mike Megrew to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- LeCroy made his second start this season and first behind the plate.
- Florida's Jeremy Hermida (right hip flexor strain) was not in the lineup for a third straight game but took batting practice.
- Retired boxer Roberto Duran threw the ceremonial first pitch.
- The announced crowd was 12,913.