De La Cruz increased his batting average to .353 since Miami acquired him from Houston on July 30. Miguel Rojas also went deep and Brian Anderson had two hits and two RBI for the Marlins, who won their second straight after snapping an eight-game losing streak Wednesday.
“I’m feeling much better, getting my timing like I had in Triple-A,” De La Cruz said. “Thank God, I’m adapting.”
Elieser Hernández allowed two runs and six hits in five innings. Hernández (1-1) struck out four and walked one.
"He was making pitches tonight,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “I thought he was sharp. It was good to see.”
Washington’s Juan Soto hit his 21st homer, a two-run shot. The blast was measured at 114 mph, the hardest hit in the young slugger’s career.
“I know most of my homers are 110,” Soto said. “I feel sometimes I hit the ball harder than that and every time I look up it’s 110. Since ’19 or ’20 I just forgot about the speed exit of my homers.”
Alfaro capped a four-run first inning with his three-run drive against starter Patrick Corbin (7-13). Alfaro hit Corbin’s slider over the wall in center for his fourth homer of the season. The Marlins took a 1-0 lead on Anderson’s RBI single.
“The timing at the plate is one thing and I think I’m starting to get my timing back,” said Anderson, who spent two months on the injured list before being activated July 24. “That’s a good sign for me.”
Rojas’ two-run shot in the second, his seventh of the season, increased Miami’s advantage to 6-0.
Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson was removed because of a left thumb sprain in the fifth. Brinson collided with left fielder De La Cruz as both unsuccessfully attempted to catch a flyball hit by Alcides Escobar in the fifth.
Escobar reached second after the ball was jarred from De La Cruz’s glove, and Brinson was charged with an error. Soto followed with his shot over the center field wall.
Down 7-3, Escobar hit a one-out single and Soto walked against reliever Anthony Bass in the ninth. Richard Bleier relieved Bass and allowed Josh Bell’s RBI single. Yadiel Hernández reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Soto from third.
The Nationals loaded the bases in the fourth on one-out singles by Yadiel Hernández, Kieboom and Luis García. But Elieser Hernández struck out Tres Barrera and retired pinch-hitter Lane Thomas on a pop out to catcher Alfaro.
Thomas’ pinch-hit appearance ended Corbin’s outing after three innings and 58 pitches. Corbin allowed six runs and four hits, while striking out three and walking two.
“If he wasn’t coming up to hit that inning and the bases weren’t loaded I probably would have left him in the game,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “But the fact of the matter dictated we had to pinch hit for him.”
Escobar had his own cheering section in the stands. Escobar’s 7-year-old son plays in a local youth baseball team and the entire group sat near the Nationals dugout and cheered whenever the Nationals shortstop was introduced. The cheers grew even louder after Escobar’s two hits.
“That’s awesome whenever you have kids and get them involved during a game,” Martinez said. “It means a lot not just to Alcides but all the players to see young kids cheering for everyone and having a good time.”
Marlins: RHP Zach Pop (right middle finger soreness) threw another inning of relief Thursday at Low-A Jupiter.
Astros will look to even series with Braves in Game 2
Atlanta Braves (88-73, first in the NL East) vs. Houston Astros (95-67, first in the AL West)
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