- Associated Press - Sunday, July 18, 2010

MIAMI | Gaby Sanchez succeeded where everyone else failed — with a runner in scoring position.

Sanchez doubled home the only run and Alex Sanabia pitched into the sixth inning to earn his first major league win Sunday, helping the Florida Marlins shut out Washington for the second game in a row, 1-0.

Aside from Sanchez, the two teams went 0 for 18 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals went 0 for 9 in those situations for the second consecutive game, and they stranded nine.

“It’s always fun to play in a game that’s tight,” Sanchez said. “But they’re stressful at times, because you’re out there and they’ve got a guy in scoring position, and you’re like, ‘All right, let’s bear down and not let him get in.’”

Sanchez’s RBI came in the fifth inning after Emilio Bonifacio led off with a double. Sanchez unsuccessfully tried to bunt before driving a ball into the alley.

The run proved precious in a series where Washington outscored Florida 4-3 but lost two of the three games.

“It’s very frustrating, because we are playing good baseball,” said Craig Stammen (2-4), who gave up the only run in the finale. “We are not throwing the ball all over the place or striking out all of the time. We are not getting the big hit we need to score runs.”

In the back-to-back shutouts, Washington totaled 19 hits, all singles.

“We are just in a little funk where we are getting them on, but we can’t get them in,” manager Jim Riggleman said.

A baserunning blunder by Adam Kennedy for the second game in a row didn’t help.

The Marlins sputtered in the clutch, too. They went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position in the series finale, stranding 10 while totaling six hits.

“Coming out of the All-Star break, the bats may be a little bit behind,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

Sanabia (1-1) took advantage of Washington’s offensive woes. Making his second career start, the 21-year-old rookie allowed four hits in 5 1-3 innings and lowered his ERA to 2.12 in five games this season.

“You can tell he was a little bit nervous out there,” Rodriguez said. “But it seems like he was comfortable pitching uncomfortable. He made his pitches when he had to.”

Teammates celebrated Sanabia’s milestone win by dumping ice on him in the shower.

Four relievers completed an eight-hitter for Florida’s ninth shutout this season. Jose Veras pitched a scoreless seventh and has yet to give up a run in 12 innings since coming up from Triple-A New Orleans in June.

Leo Nunez earned his 22nd save in 27 chances by pitching the ninth, when the Nationals squandered their final opportunity. After Kennedy singled with one out, pinch hitter Mike Morse also singled, but Kennedy slipped rounding second base and was tagged out trying to get back to the bag.

“My initial reaction was to try to get to third with less than two outs, but I just made it into a pretty bad play,” Kennedy said. Pinch hitter Ivan Rodriguez then struck out to end the game.

Kennedy was thrown out at the plate in the Nationals‘ 2-0 loss Saturday.

“I feel bad for Adam,” Riggleman said. “Two days in a row he is involved in aggressive plays. He feels terrible about it.”

The last-place Nationals dropped their sixth consecutive rubber game in a series. They’ve lost eight of their past nine day games, and they’re 6-24 on the road since mid-May.

The Marlins improved to 9-33 when they’re outhit, including wins in the past two games. Florida’s past four games have involved a shutout, a franchise record.

The Nationals‘ best scoring chance against Sanabia came in the third, when they loaded the bases with one out. The rookie then struck out Adam Dunn and got Josh Willingham to tap out.

Cristian Guzman reached second with one out in the eighth, but Clay Hensley struck out Dunn and retired Willingham on a popup.

“They had people on,” Sanchez said. “Our pitchers just did a great job of getting out of the inning, and defensively we’ve been doing what we needed to do.”

Notes: Before the game, the Marlins recalled OF Bryan Petersen from Triple-A New Orleans. … The bees were gone Sunday. The Marlins reopened the section near the bullpen that had been closed because of an infestation of the insects. … Nationals starters allowed two earned runs in 18 innings in the series. … Bonifacio’s double was his first since July 19, 2009.

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