WASHINGTON -- Even as the Nationals have been hammered by injuries, they have not missed a beat due to the contributions from their replacements. That continued on Thursday night, when Brian Goodwin hit the go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning and Andrew Stevenson made a game-ending catch to lead Washington to a 3-2 victory over Miami at Nationals Park.
Goodwin, who has been the team's leadoff hitter and center fielder for about a month since Michael Taylor landed on the disabled list, hit his 13th homer of his rookie season. Since July 17, 17 of his 24 hits have gone for extra bases, giving him a .576 slugging percentage during that span.
"How many teams can lose two center fielders and then the next one steps up?" Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.
Washington's relievers once again shut the door to take three of four from Miami. Its new bullpen trio of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle combined to pitch a scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth.
Stevenson, who entered as a pinch-runner for Adam Lind in the seventh, remained in the game in left field. With the tying run at third with two outs in the ninth, he made a diving catch on a sinking liner by Dee Gordon to clinch the victory.
"It's a really cool feeling," Stevenson said. "I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to be out there."
Giancarlo Stanton provided early offense for the Marlins when he launched a two-run homer in the third inning, his 39th homer of the year, extending his career high. It was the lone blemish for Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark, who battled to complete six innings after surrendering four hits and five walks on 107 pitches. But he got out of jams when necessary to hold the Marlins to two runs over six innings.
"Just one of those nights where I didn't have the velocity, so I had to just hit my spots and locate," Roark said. "I found that out in the third inning, just try not to overthrow and hit my spots."
Marlins right-hander Dan Straily put together a solid performance of his own with five scoreless innings before he ran into trouble in the sixth. The Nationals scored a pair in the inning to tie the game, capped by a run-scoring double from Bryce Harper after the Marlins missed a sign to try to pick off Goodwin. Straily limited the Nats to two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"We don't want to pitch to Harper," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We're trying not to pitch to [Ryan] Zimmerman either, actually. We had a back pick on, and instead of throwing a back pick, we throw a pitch. That cost us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stevenson saves it: With Doolittle on for the save in the ninth and fans chanting "Doooo" in his honor, Miguel Rojas got himself into scoring position with a one-out double. He moved to third after J.T. Realmuto grounded out to put the tying run 90 feet away. Gordon nearly brought the run home as he hit a slicing liner to left field that was caught by a diving Stevenson to seal the Nationals' win.
Stevenson gave credit to Nationals first-base coach Davey Lopes for positioning him near the line before the play. The grab was rated as a three-star catch by Statcast™, after Stevenson covered 38 feet in 3.2 seconds to make a play with a 55-percent catch probability.
"Off the bat, I knew he didn't hit it very hard," Doolittle said. "But neither did Rojas, and that ball dropped in. So I was like: 'Oh, no.' And I turned around, and Stevenson had him played perfectly. He was shaded in and over. I knew he was going to have a play on it, and it looked like he was going to get there. It was pretty awesome."
Stanton does it again: When Stanton is on a roll, he has few peers who can match his power. Thursday's homer was his third of the four-game series and sixth in his past seven games. Stanton is on the cusp of becoming just the second player in Marlins history to hit 40 home runs in a single season and is three behind Gary Sheffield (42) for the single-season franchise record. More >
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Stanton has 18 home runs over his past 30 games. That's the most homers in a 30-game stretch in Marlins history, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
After Gordon began the seventh inning with a single off Kintzler, he tried to get himself into scoring position but was thrown out by Matt Wieters at second base. The Marlins challenged the call, but the call stood.
Gordon jammed his hand on second-base umpire Manny Gonzalez's foot while sliding into second and shook his hand afterward. He said he feels fine.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Miami returns to Marlins Park to begin a three-game series against Colorado at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday. Jose Urena will take the mound coming off two starts in which he held a combined 1.29 ERA. The right-hander has a 3.49 ERA at home this year.
Nationals:Edwin Jackson will take the mound as the Nationals welcome the Giants to Nationals Park for a three-game series beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday. Jackson has been solid since taking over as the team's No. 5 starter, posting a 3.75 ERA in four outings with Washington.