- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 19, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Cody Ross hit the tying homer in the eighth inning, then hit a three-run double in the ninth to give the Florida Marlins their seventh straight victory, 7-4 over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

Emilio Bonifacio led off the ninth by drawing a walk off Saul Rivera (0-3), and John Baker followed with a double into the gap in left-center to tie the game at 4. After Hanley Ramirez struck out, Ross Gload was walked intentionally before Dan Uggla struck out looking and Jeremy Hermida walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases.

Ross, who had tied the game at 4 with a homer off Mike Hinckley in the eighth, ripped a double to right-center, clearing the bases. Ross finished with five RBIs.

Baker had two RBIs for the Marlins, who are 11-1 and own the best record in the majors. At 1-10, Washington has the worst mark.

Leo Nunez (2-0) worked the eighth and Matt Lindstrom pitched the ninth for his third save.

Coming off consecutive extra-inning losses to the Marlins, Washington loaded the bases in the first but could only grab a 2-0 lead on singles by Elijah Dukes and Austin Kearns.

Baker’s two-out RBI double cut the lead in half in the third.

The Nationals knocked Chris Volstad from the game in the fifth, increasing their lead to 3-1. Adam Dunn drew a leadoff walk and went to third on a one-out single by Kearns, and Hayden Penn replaced Volstad before giving up a run-scoring single to Jesus Flores.

Volstad gave up three runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings. He walked five and struck out five.

Nationals starter Daniel Cabrera departed after giving up a leadoff double to Hanley Ramirez and walking Gload in the sixth. Steven Shell relieved, loaded the bases by walking Hermida with one out, then allowed Ross’ RBI single that made it 3-2.

Cabrera allowed two runs on three hits and four walks.

The Marlins missed a chance to go ahead after Ross’ homer in the eighth. Right fielder Kearns misplayed pinch hitter Wes Helms’ sinking liner into a double. Alfredo Amezaga, who had reached on an infield single, tried to score but was cut down at the plate _ after missing home on his slide and being tagged out by Flores while trying to dance his way back.

Ryan Zimmerman tied the game in the bottom of the eighth on a run-scoring fielder’s choice.

Notes:@ Manager Manny Acta said the Nationals would recall RHP Jordan Zimmermann from Triple-A Syracuse after the game to make Monday’s start against Atlanta. It will be Zimmermann’s major league debut. … Cabrera grounded out unassisted to the first baseman in the fourth. Until then, he had been 0-for-18 with 18 strikeouts and two sacrifice hits for his career. In the fifth, Cabrera worked Penn, his former teammate with the Orioles, for a four-pitch walk. … Zimmerman’s RBI grounder snapped a scoreless streak of 24 2-3 scoreless innings by the Marlins bullpen on the current road trip.

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