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December 22, 2014

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Bryce Harper hits first homer of season in victory over Marlins

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper, left, celebrates his three-run homer after the umpires review confirms the play during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — Jayson Werth hit a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning off Carlos Marmol after Bryce Harper's upper-deck, three-run homer started a comeback from an early deficit, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 10-7 Wednesday night.

Werth and Harper each delivered his first homer of the season as Washington overcame deficits of 5-0 and 7-6 in a topsy-turvy game. Werth's shot off Marmol (0-1) came with one out, after the reliever allowed a single, hit a batter, then intentionally walked Anthony Rendon to load the bases.

It made a winner of Tyler Clippard (1-1), who yielded Garrett Jones' tiebreaking RBI double in the top of the eighth after walking a pair of batters. Rafael Soriano worked the ninth for his second save.

Jones' hit put Miami ahead 7-6, but Giancarlo Stanton was thrown out at the plate on Rendon's relay of Werth's throw from right on the play.

Werth then came through with his fourth career grand slam, and first with the Nationals. He drove an 0-1 pitch into the visitor's bullpen in left-center, then acknowledged the fans' cheering with a curtain call.

Werth came into the game having driven in one run all season, but was responsible for five Wednesday, including an RBI groundout in the fifth after Rendon's triple. That made it 5-4.

Harper, a Las Vegas native who starred at the College of Southern Nevada, began the night hitting .160 with zero RBIs and nearly three times as many strikeouts (11) as hits (four) this season. Dropped to seventh in the batting order, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year culminated a 10-pitch at-bat against left-hander Brad Hand in the fourth inning by turning on a 94 mph offering and hitting it over the foul pole and into the fifth row of the third deck beyond right field.

That trimmed a five-run Marlins lead to 5-3, and helped Washington overcome the shortest start of Jordan Zimmermann's career. The righty, who won 19 games last season, left after allowing five runs in 1 2-3 innings.

Derek Dietrich was awarded a two-run homer after a replay review in the second inning, and Christian Yelich wound up with three hits and two walks.

But the Marlins allowed the Nationals to rally, helping the hosts by making three errors, raising Miami's total to 11 through nine games.

NOTES: Zimmermann's previous shortest outing came July 21, 2013, against the Dodgers, when he left after giving up seven runs over two innings of a 12-5 home loss. ... Washington 3B Ryan Zimmerman returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Saturday after sitting out with a sore throwing shoulder. He's been working on changing his delivery and in the fifth, he wound up bouncing the ball to first on an awkward-looking throw somewhere between over-the-top and three-quarters, but he still got Casey McGehee out on the play. ... Marlins RHP Arquimedes Caminero threw 1 2-3 hitless innings in his season debut. He was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans before the game to replace RHP Jacob Turner, who went on the 15-day DL with a strained right shoulder. Turner was supposed to start Wednesday but was hurt during batting practice a day earlier. Instead, Hand got the start and went 3 1-3 innings, allowing three runs.

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