- Associated Press - Friday, September 26, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - After an impressive second half of 2014, Miami Marlins right-hander Jarred Cosart will head into the offseason with an eight-walk performance he called “embarrassing.”

“I’ve had too much good the last couple weeks to let this one ruin the season, but it’s definitely going to eat at me for a while,” Cosart said. “I didn’t have it out there. I couldn’t find the plate. And that’s pretty much it.”

Cosart allowed a homer to the second batter he faced Friday, then issued all those free passes, and that helped the NL East champion Washington Nationals lock up home-field advantage until the World Series by beating Miami 4-0 on Doug Fister’s three-hitter in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.

“You walk eight guys in a major league game, I’m surprised it wasn’t 12-nothing,” Cosart said.

He had made eight consecutive quality starts and carried a 2.29 ERA from his first nine appearances with the Marlins since arriving in a trade from the Houston Astros.



But Cosart’s record with Miami dropped to 4-4 - he’s 13-11 overall this season - after he allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in five innings.

He gave up Anthony Rendon’s 21st homer of the year in the first inning. Adam LaRoche scored later in the first on a passed ball, and Asdrubal Cabrera added an RBI infield single in the fifth after two of Cosart’s walks.

“Let’s chalk it up to a bad day for him,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “Just wasn’t his day. He’s been really good for us.”

Fister (16-6), meanwhile, recorded his second career shutout.

The only player who got a hit off Fister was Donovan Solano, with a pair of harmless singles in the first and fourth innings, and a triple with two outs in the ninth. The next batter, Casey McGehee, lined out to diving second baseman Cabrera.

Fister threw 104 pitches, 77 for strikes, and heard a loud ovation when he jogged from the dugout to the mound for the ninth.

“Obviously some adrenaline, some emotions run through there,” the lanky righty said. “It’s one of those things where you kind of take a second and you soak it in and then you get back to work.”

Fister produced at the plate. He doubled then scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s single in the sixth, and later drew a walk.

Washington improved to 94-65, meaning it can finish no worse than tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League’s top record. But the Nationals own the tiebreaker because they won the teams’ season series 4-2.

“It’s important to have home-field advantage. If we want to get to where we want to get to, then that’s important. So that’s accomplished,” rookie manager Matt Williams said. “I also think it’s really important for us to play really well the next three games and continue to push and play with some enthusiasm and determination, because that light switch just doesn’t turn on and off.”

Washington improved to 49-29 at Nationals Park, giving the team a chance to finish the regular season tied with the AL’s Los Angeles Angels for the best home record in the majors.

“That was a big milestone for us today. I think that’s going to give us some edge in the playoffs,” said Fister, who had nine strikeouts and zero walks.

At 76-83 heading into the second game Friday, the Marlins could finish anywhere from second to fourth in the NL East, but they know they won’t finish last.

UP NEXT

Williams said the Nationals will stick to their planned starting pitchers this weekend, including RHP Stephen Strasburg (13-11, 3.23 ERA) for a last pre-playoffs tuneup Saturday against Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-13, 4.44).

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