Nationals 2, Marlins 1

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MIAMI (AP) – John Patterson allowed three hits in eight innings and matched a career high with 13 strikeouts, helping the Washington Nationals break a six-game losing streak by beating the Florida Marlins 2-1 Saturday night.

Washington’s Royce Clayton doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. The Nationals, who had been off to the franchise’s worst start since 1970, improved to 3-9.

Patterson (1-0) retired the first 13 batters, eight on strikeouts, before Josh Willingham doubled off the scoreboard. Chris Aguila followed with a double to give the Marlins a brief 1-0 lead.

Florida’s only other hit was a two-out single in the eighth by pinch-hitter Wes Helms, who was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

Washington rallied with two runs in the sixth by taking advantage of rookie Scott Olsen’s wildness, both to the plate and to first base. He walked three in the inning and made a wild throw to first that allowed the tying run to score.

Patterson left for a pinch-hitter after throwing 108 pitches. He walked only one, and that was intentional.

Chad Cordero pitched a hitless ninth for the Nationals’ first save. Second baseman Brendan Harris made a leaping grab with runners on first and second to end the game.

Washington mustered five hits without Jose Guillen and Jose Vidro, both sidelined Friday by injuries. Both players are day to day.

Olsen (0-1), making his first appearance of the season, walked six in 5 1-3 innings but shut out the Nationals until the sixth.

Alfonso Soriano led off the inning with a walk, and after he was thrown out trying to steal, Nick Johnson also walked. Olsen then fielded Ryan Zimmerman’s roller up the first-base line and rushed a wild, off-balance throw for an error. Johnson, running with the pitch, scored from first.

Olsen left after walking Harris, and Clayton’s double put Washington ahead. Harris was thrown out trying to score.

Patterson struck out six of the first seven batters, and the Marlins quickly became frustrated. Miguel Cabrera struck out swinging on a breaking pitch out of the zone to end the fourth, then slammed his bat to the ground. He struck for the third time in the sixth and flipped the bat over his head.

Florida fell to 0-4 in one-run games.

Notes: Summer’s coming: The temperature was 83 degrees for the 6:05 p.m. start. … The new jumbo scoreboard had some early glitches – Patterson’s first pitch registered at 43 mph, and then next two clocked in at 49. … Marlins first base coach Perry Hill missed his second game in a row for personal reasons. … The Marlins’ bullpen extended its scoreless streak to 12 2-3 innings.

AP-ES-04-15-06 2105EDT

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