- Associated Press - Saturday, August 29, 2015

Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond hit back-to-back home runs, Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins, 5-1, on Saturday night.

The Nationals pulled within 5 1/2 games of first-place New York in the National League East. The Mets dropped their second consecutive game against the Boston Red Sox, 3-1, earlier in the day, marking the first time the Nationals gained ground on New York since Aug. 19.

Ryan Zimmerman also hit a home run for the Nationals.

Zimmermann (11-8) won his third consecutive start. He gave up a run and seven hits, while striking out four and walking one. He allowed baserunners in six of seven innings.

Justin Bour ended Zimmermann’s shutout bid with his 12th home run, leading off the seventh.

Miami starter Tom Koehler (8-13) is still seeking his first win since July 23. He allowed five runs and nine hits over six innings in losing his seventh consecutive game. He did have two hits.

Robinson and Desmond connected off Koehler in the sixth. Robinson sliced a two-run shot into the Nationals’ bullpen and Desmond, who went 2-for-3, followed with a blast to center, making it 5-0.

It was Desmond’s 17th home run and 10th since July 20.

The Marlins had at least one baserunner in each of the first five innings against Zimmermann, but failed to get any of them home.

Zimmerman led off the second with his 12th home run. He has 24 RBI in his last 25 games

Washington made it 2-0 when Anthony Rendon’s two-out single scored Danny Espinosa in the third.

Outfielder Michael A. Taylor (bruised right knee) and third baseman Yunel Escobar (injured right hand) were both held out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game.

Manager Matt Williams said Taylor was available off the bench, and that Escobar had done “some hitting” earlier Saturday. Taylor grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

Miami left-hander Brad Hand (4-3, 4.23 ERA) looks for his first career win against the Nationals in Sunday’s series finale. He’s 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA versus Washington in nine games, including seven starts.

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA, 32 strikeouts and three walks since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 8.

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