- - Sunday, July 8, 2018

Justin Bour was born in Washington, grew up in Fairfax County and was a baseball standout at George Mason University.

So the first baseman for the Marlins is certainly happy the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is coming to Washington on July 17.

“I think it is great. Not a better place to do it than the nation’s capital,” Bour said this weekend, as the Marlins were at Nationals Park for a four-game series. “I am sure they are going to put on a great event.”

Bour, 30, a left-handed slugger, was able to be part of All-Star festivities in Miami last year as he participated in the Home Run Derby.

The Westfield High graduate put on an impressive display, crushing balls into the right-field seats at Marlins Park. But he was finally eliminated by Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, the eventual winner. Lorenzo Bundy, a former James Madison University first baseman and ex-Marlins coach, threw batting practice to Bour in the Home Run Derby.

“It was pretty cool to be able to put on a show for the hometown of Miami,” Bour said. He is not sure where he will spend the All-Star break this year.

In regular-season play, Bour has feasted on Nationals pitching for years, especially at Nationals Park.

Five of his first 24 career homers came against Washington, with four at Nationals Park. He hit four homers against the Nationals in 2015, including back-to-back games in D.C.

Through Saturday he had 11 homers in 55 games against the Nationals, with six in 27 games at Nationals Park. He had 78 career homers going into Sunday’s series finale against the Marlins.

He followed the script Thursday when he hit a home run against Washington starter Jeremy Hellickson. That gave the Marlins a lead of 9-0, but the Nationals rallied and won 14-12 in the best comeback in franchise history since coming to Washington in 2005.

“We didn’t make an error all night, but you can’t walk eight guys with that club over there,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We let them back in the game and we couldn’t stop the momentum.”

The next night Mark Reynolds, a University of Virginia product, hit a walk-off homer for the Nationals in the last of the ninth for a 3-2 win over the Marlins. Then on Saturday ace Max Scherzer got his first win in more than a month as the Nationals crushed Miami 18-4 as first baseman Reynolds was 5-for-5 with two homers and 10 RBI.

The first baseman for the Marlins would love such a performance.

In games through Saturday, Bour was batting .232 with 14 homers. The George Mason product, who broke into the majors with Miami in 2014, hit .289 with 25 homers last year for the Marlins.

“Obviously the numbers are not exactly where I want them to be,” he said. “But it is part of the game of baseball. Baseball is a difficult sport. You have to make adjustments every day, every pitch. Hopefully, I can put together a strong second half.”

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