Pablo López lowered his majors-best ERA to 0.39 by throwing six shutout innings, Jesús Aguilar homered, and the Miami Marlins moved above .500 for the first time in 2022 by edging the slumping Washington Nationals 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Mixing a four-seam fastball, cutter and changeup before an announced crowd of 13,356, López (3-0) baffled an already-in-trouble Nationals offense, which has managed to score a grand total of 14 runs during a losing streak that grew to seven games.
López came in with a 0.52 ERA and gave up just three hits. He struck out six and walked one.
López has allowed only a single run across 23 1/3 innings over four starts this season — and his past three appearances were all scoreless.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez tinkered with his lineup, swapping Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz — moving Bell up one spot to No. 3, behind Juan Soto, with Cruz sliding one place to cleanup. That trio went 0 for 9 with three walks; on defense, right fielder Soto and first baseman Bell each was charged with an error.
Martinez also inserted rookie shortstop Lucius Fox — who left Sunday’s game after throwing up on the field in the first inning — in place of the .123-batting Alcides Escobar.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, César Hernández reached on an error by first baseman Aguilar, bringing up lefty batter Soto. Miami countered with left-hander Tanner Scott, who got Soto to pop up, but second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. failed to make the catch and was charged with an error. That put runners at the corners for Bell, who walked. Scott also walked Cruz, forcing in an unearned run for the Nationals to make it 2-1.
With the bases still loaded, Anthony Bender got out of the inning when Yadiel Hernandez flew out to the warning track. Bender stayed in for the ninth and worked around Maikel Franco’s single off the wall in left to earn his fourth save in five chances by getting Fox to fly out to end it.
Nothing really seems to be working right now for Washington, which is 6-14 and coming off two last-place finishes in the NL East since winning the 2019 World Series. Only the Cincinnati Reds have fewer wins in baseball.
The Marlins, meanwhile, have won four consecutive games to get to 9-8 following a 1-4 start.
Aguilar’s solo shot to center off a 94 mph sinker from Erick Fedde (1-2) gave Miami the lead in the third. The Marlins went up 2-0 in the fifth when Jacob Stallings’ single was followed by three consecutive walks — the last two by reliever Andres Machado — to push across a run.
Fedde allowed two runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
A pair of childhood friends, Washington’s Fox and Miami’s Chisholm, became the first pair of Bahamas-born players to appear in the same major league game since 1961. Chisholm led off Wednesday night’s game with a single.
Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas played after missing three games with an upper respiratory illness.
Nationals: RHPs Stephen Strasburg (thoracic outlet surgery) and Joe Ross (bone spur in right elbow) threw more than 35 pitches apiece in bullpen sessions in Florida.
Two struggling left-handers pitch in Thursday’s series finale: Washington’s Patrick Corbin vs. Miami’s Trevor Rogers. Corbin is 0-3 with an 11.30 ERA; Rogers is 0-3 with a 6.94 ERA.