- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Miami Marlins aren’t playing favorites in the NL East race.

They are beating both teams.

Justin Bour and Martin Prado homered for the second straight game and the Marlins dented the Nationals’ fading playoff hopes with a 6-4 victory Thursday night.

The Marlins have won five straight series, including two against the first-place New York Mets and one against the chasing Nationals.

“They’ve proven that they’re some of the elite teams in baseball, and now we’re proving that we can play with these guys,” Marlins starter Jarred Cosart said.

Cosart (2-4) turned in his third straight productive effort since being recalled from the minors. He gave up two runs and three hits in six innings, walking three and striking out four.

The Nationals, opening their 11-game final homestand, fell eight games behind the idle Mets.

“Those are the two clubs that are leading the division but September baseball, you’re going to play in division and it’s always fun when you can have quality ballgames against the teams that are ahead of you,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said.

The Marlins have won three straight and 12 of 16.

“Oh, it’s awesome,” Cosart said. “Being able to win a lot of games, this is kind of what our expectations were from the beginning of the year. Some things didn’t go our way and like I said, injuries and stuff, but now we’re rolling with it and having a lot of fun - feeding off each other.”

Ian Desmond homered, singled and drove in four runs for Washington, which had won four straight.

“The Marlins, they’ve got a great staff. They hit the ball well. Bour, that guy is pretty incredible against us. Prado, Dee Gordon, they all hit well against us,” said Bryce Harper, who had two hits.

Tanner Roark (4-6) took the loss, allowing six runs and eight hits over five innings.

A.J. Ramos got four outs for his 28th save.

Miami broke a 2-all tie with a four-run fifth.

Miguel Rojas doubled and later scored on Gordon’s sacrifice fly. Christian Yelich and Prado hit two-out singles, then Bour fell behind 0-2, but worked the count to 2-2 before connecting for his 18th home run this season, and fourth against Washington.

“Up and down that line, the hitters are passing the baton to the next guy, keeping the line moving,” Jennings said.

The Nationals closed to 6-4 in the eighth. Anthony Rendon led off with a single and one out later Harper singled. Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore drew a two-out walk that loaded the bases and reliever Bryan Morris gave up a two-run single to Desmond.

Wilson Ramos walked to reload the bases, but Ramos fanned Michael Taylor.

“It got a little hairy in the eighth, but it wouldn’t be Marlins baseball if we didn’t make it exciting,” Jennings said.

Gordon led off the game with a single and one out later Prado homered.

Desmond tied it in the second with his 18th homer of the season, a liner into the visitor’s bullpen.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: INF Adeiny Hechavarria (left hamstring tightness) hasn’t played since Sept. 2, but took infield practice this week and is “moving toward getting back on the field,” according to Jennings.

UP NEXT

Marlins: RHP Jose Fernandez (5-0, 2.06) makes his second start since returning from a biceps strain. Last Saturday against Washington, he allowed two hits and struck out seven over five shutout innings to earn the win.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (12-11, 2.91) picked up his first win since July 30 when he threw eight shutout innings Sunday at Miami. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.

PRADO POUNDING NATIONALS

With his 2-for-4 effort Thursday night, Prado is 20 for 60 against Washington in 2015, with two homers and six RBIs.

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