Garrett Cooper, Marlins chase encore against Nationals

MLB Baseball

The relieved Miami Marlins — who snapped a four-game losing streak on Friday night — are set to host the Washington Nationals again Saturday afternoon.

Miguel Rojas (four RBIs) and Garrett Cooper (four runs) helped the Marlins cool off the Nationals on Friday in an 11-2 victory.

Cooper was playing his first major league game since sustaining a back injury on June 7.

“It was pretty rough for four or five days,” Cooper said of his back pain.

On Friday, though, Cooper was giving out the pain, going 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles, a walk and two RBIs.

“It’s been a long three weeks (trying to get back),” Cooper said. “We went through a rough stretch. Just to help the team score some runs was huge.”

Even with the win, the Marlins are 3-8 over their past 11 games. And while the Marlins are in last place in the National League East, they are at least breaking even at home (17-17).

On Saturday, Miami will throw rookie right-hander Zach Thompson (1-2, 1.50 ERA) against veteran Washington lefty Patrick Corbin (5-5, 5.40 ERA).

Thompson will be making his fourth major league appearance, all starts, and his first against Washington.

In an organization with a lot of quality young pitchers at the major league and minor league levels, Thompson doesn’t quite fit. He is old for a rookie at age 27, and he made a long trek through the minor leagues since being drafted in the fifth round by the Chicago White Sox in 2014.

So far, he has tossed three, five and four innings in his three starts, which is a sign the Marlins are not yet trusting him to go deep into games.

Meanwhile, the Nationals had their season-high-tying, five-game win streak snapped on Friday. Washington is still hot overall, having gone 10-2 since June 13.

Corbin has faced the Marlins 13 times, going 5-3 with a 3.80 ERA, including one shutout. In Miami, however, Corbin is just 2-2 with a 5.90 ERA in five starts.

Over his career, Corbin has limited lefty batters to a .227 batting average and a .637 OPS. Righty batters are hitting .265 with a .755 OPS against him.

The Nationals are 8-6 when Corbin starts this year. He has won his past two starts, allowing just three runs in 14 1/3 innings during that span.

Corbin is surely hoping that teammate Kyle Schwarber will continue his incredible hot streak. The Washington left fielder went 3-for-4 on Friday, slugging a solo homer.

He now has 13 home runs in his past 14 games, including nine in his six most recent contests.

Schwarber has the second-most homers in a 14-game span since at least 1901, trailing only Barry Bonds in 2001. Schwarber’s blast on Friday went 420 feet, landing in the upper deck in right field.

He now has 22 homers this season. His 12 homers in a 12-game span as a leadoff batter are the most ever in the majors.

“When he’s hot like that, you don’t say much too him,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Schwarber’s streak. “He’s been awesome.”

–Field Level Media

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