Associated Press photo
Michael Morse congratulates Bryce Harper following his eighth-inning homer.
Hitting highlight: This was going to be renamed the "Adam LaRoche Highlight" after the first baseman slugged two more home runs (giving him four in three days) but then Danny Espinosa and Bryce Harper stole the show in the bottom of the eighth. Espinosa, who has had a miserable couple of weeks at the plate, made everyone forget about that when he crushed a pitch from left-hander Mike Dunn over the left-field bullpen for the three-run homer that gave the Nationals the lead for good. The crowd of 33,449 serenaded Espinosa til he gave them a curtain call, and they barely had time to catch their breaths before Harper destroyed a Dunn fastball to right field, nearly reaching the third deck. The Nats have produced some big home runs this season, but those back-to-back shots might have been the biggest of them all.
Pitching lowlight: We should probably rename this category "Pitching AND defensive lowlight" because the two went hand-in-hand tonight. Zimmermann slogged through his worst start of the season, but he wasn't helped at all by his defense. Espinosa and Lombardozzi combined for three errors, and Jayson Werth and Harper each took suspect routes on line drives hit at them in the outfield. In the end, Zimmermann couldn't overcome those mistakes and failed to go at least six innings for the first time in 22 starts this season. If you're wondering about his shoulder inflammation -- which bumped this start back a day -- his velocity looked fine, consistently in the 94-95 mph range. That doesn't necessarily guarantee he's not injured, but it's usually the first sign of a problem.
Key stat: The Marlins scored more runs in this game than in any of their previous 18 games.
Up next: The series concludes at 1:35 p.m. Sunday when Stephen Strasburg squares off with Ricky Nolasco.