MIAMI (AP) - At first base, Logan Morrison threw a jubilant fist. In the dugout, Carlos Zambrano shouted ``Wooo!'
They were celebrating an inning-ending double play, one of the many little things that helped the Miami Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 5-3 Monday.
Jose Reyes hustled his way to a run and the Marlins came up with several pivotal defensive plays. Zambrano rebounded from his worst start this year to pitch six innings, and struggling closer Heath Bell finished with a 1-2-3 ninth.
A couple of big swings made a difference, too: Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton homered. As a result, the Marlins beat NL East leader Washington for the first time this season.
``We played well,' manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``It was two good teams. They're in first place for a reason.'
The Marlins are gaining ground, though. They improved to 19-8 since May 1, best in the majors, and tied the franchise record for victories in any month. They're 5-9 against the NL East, while Washington fell to 11-4 within the division.
The key double play came in the seventh to preserve the Marlins' 4-3 lead. Stanton tied the game in the sixth with his 11th home run in May, one short of the Marlins' record for a month.
Morrison, whose late father was in the Coast Guard, hit a Memorial Day homer, his third this year. Hanley Ramirez had three hits and a sacrifice fly.
Reliever Edward Mujica got five outs while facing only four batters, and Bell earned his eighth save in 12 chances. Bell, a Marlins newcomer after three All-Star seasons with San Diego, had failed to finish the ninth in his previous two outings.
``It feels really good to go out there and get the job done like I know I can, and show these boys I can do it,' he said. ``I've just got to keep earning my keep.'
Jordan Zimmermann (3-5) hit his first career homer but couldn't hold a 3-1 lead. He gave up four runs in six innings, including both Miami homers.
Zambrano (3-3) allowed three runs and seven hits in six-plus innings and came away impressed by the Nationals.
``Man, I'll tell you what, I found out why they're in first place,' Zambrano said. ``Those kids can hit. They're good. The only mistake I made today was to Zimmermann. Otherwise I was in control. I made some good pitches that they hit.'
Miami rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the sixth to take the lead. Ramirez singled and Stanton hit his 12th homer of the year, estimated at 412 feet. Morrison doubled and took third on a single by Bryan Petersen, and Chris Coghlan's sacrifice fly put the Marlins ahead.
Morrison tied the score with a leadoff homer in the fourth. He paid tribute to his father, who died in 2010, by pointing upward as he crossed home plate.
``I was definitely getting goose bumps going around the bases,' Morrison said. ``Giving him the salute was pretty cool.'
Zambrano took a 4-3 lead into the seventh but departed after the first two batters reached. Left fielder Coghlan made a difficult running catch of Bryce Harper's fly, and after Mujica entered the game, Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a double play.
``We had the right guys up,' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. ``We just didn't get it done.'
Reyes produced an insurance run in the seventh. He kept running after hitting a blooper to short center and barely beat Rick Ankiel's throw to second for a double.
``I was a little upset at Ankiel,' Johnson said. ``He's too good of a player to not know that the guy is going to try to stretch that. You can't assume he's not going for two. That put us in a hole right there.'
Reyes took third on a groundout to the left side, then scored without a play when Ankiel juggled Ramirez's shallow fly in his haste to throw home.
``That's the baseball I love,' Guillen said. ``That was a huge run.'
NOTES: Morrison increased his average in day games to .388. He's batting .159 at night. ... 3B Ramirez, who moved to a new position this season, made only his second error when he threw wildly in the first inning. ... Miami C John Buck ended an 0-for-26 slump when he singled in the second. ... RHP Anibal Sanchez, who is scheduled to start Tuesday, is 7-0 with a 2.18 ERA in 18 starts against Washington. ... Game-time temperature was 78 degrees - under the retractable roof. Outdoors the heat index was 99.
The Associated Press News Service
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