Nationals complete sweep of Marlins

With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Miami and expected to arrive by this weekend, there were less than 800 fans at Marlins Park at first pitch

Sep 6, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI — Ryan Zimmerman hit his 31st homer, and Gio Gonzalez won his 14th game as the Washington Nationals swept the Miami Marlins with an 8-1 victory Wednesday night at Marlins Park.

Zimmerman went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs as the first-place Nationals (85-54) increased their division lead over the second-place Marlins (67-72) to 18 games. The Nationals have won eight straight games in their series against Miami.

Against all competition, Miami has lost four games in a row and nine of its past 10.

Gonzalez (14-6, 2.50 ERA) pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks while pitching out of a couple jams. Gonzalez leads the majors in batting average allowed with runners in scoring position.

Gonzalez, a native of Miami Dade County, is 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA against the Marlins this year. For his career against the Marlins, he is 10-3 with a 1.85 ERA.

Gonzalez is 81-0 with 21 no-decisions when he gets four or more runs of support.

Washington opened the scoring with two runs in the first. Trea Turner hit a leadoff single, advanced on an Anthony Rendon walk and scored on Zimmerman’s single. The Nationals made it 2-0 on Howie Kendrick’s RBI double.

The damage in the first could’ve been worse had Rendon not been thrown out at third by left fielder Marcell Ozuna on Zimmerman’s single.

And the second inning was more of the same for Washington as they had two runners thrown out on the bases — Michael Taylor trying to steal third and Jose Lobaton picked off at second. Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto got both assists.

Zimmerman led off the fourth with a homer to center to give Washington a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, Miami used two walks and a single to load the bases with no outs. But Realmuto lined out to shortstop, and Gonzalez struck out Tyler Moore and rookie Brian Anderson to end the threat. Anderson, looking for an RBI walk, was called out looking at a 3-2 fastball down the middle.

Miami threatened again the fifth, getting runners on first and second. But Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the majors with 53 homers, bounced into an inning-ending double play.

After loading the bases with no outs, Washington doubled its lead to 6-0 in the sixth. The RBI sent to Jayson Werth (sacrifice fly), Lobaton (walk) and Adam Lind (groundout).

Taylor made it 7-0 with his 14th homer, a solo homer in the eighth, and Rendon had an RBI single in the ninth.

Miami closed out the scoring with an RBI groundout by Miguel Rojas in the bottom of the ninth.

NOTES: With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Miami and expected to arrive by this weekend, there were less than 800 fans at Marlins Park at first pitch. … Marlins OF Ichiro Suzuki got his 25th pinch hit, three short of John Vander Wal’s major league single-season record set in 1995. … In terms of multi-hit games this year, the Marlins have four of the top 11 batters in the NL: LF Marcell Ozuna (second), 2B Dee Gordon (fourth), CF Christian Yelich (sixth) and RF Giancarlo Stanton (11th). … Washington entered Wednesday with three of the top five starters in the majors in terms of ERA: Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Stasburg. … Miami opens a four-game series at the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. … Washington returns home Thursday to open a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.