Originally posted on MarlinsBaseball.com  |  Last updated 7/17/12

The Miami Marlins split a four game series with the Washington Nationals after Monday’s 5-3 victory.   The win improved Miami’s record to 43-46 and shrunk Washington’s lead in the division over the Marlins back to nine games.  In the Wild-Card chase, the Marlins also gained a game and are now six back.

Carlos Zambrano won for the first time since June 3rd and moved to 5-7 on the season.   The veteran picked up a quality start by allowing three runs in six innings.   The strikeout numbers that were prevalent in the beginning of the year did not return in this outing as Zambrano only struck two batters out.    Control remained an issue for the right-hander with the Nationals’ receiving four free passes from Zambrano.   Nearly the entire bullpen saw action and did an admirable job of protecting the lead.    Wade LeBlanc (1), Randy Choate (14), Heath Bell (3) all earned holds before Mike Dunn picked up his first career save in the ninth inning.  Bell worked for the second straight day, this time as a setup man in the eighth and was electric on the mound striking out two hitters.   Dunn struck out hitter out, the last batter of the game.

The big blast in this game came courtesy of Hanley Ramirez who hit his 13th home run of the season, a two run blast off the home run sculpture in center field.    The home run broke a 2-2 tie as part of a four run third inning for Miami.    Before Ramirez’s home run, Carlos Lee did exactly what he was acquired to do.   With two runners on, Lee brought them both home to tie the game with a two run single.   In the seventh inning, Emilio Bonifacio put down a perfect bunt to bring home Justin Ruggiano on a suicide squeeze.

The Marlins will begin a six game road trip on Tuesday in Chicago.   For the Marlins, Anibal Sanchez will make the start and he will oppose Travis Wood of the Cubs.

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