LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 22, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Marlins vs. Nationals: Washington Falls, 5-2, For Fifth Straight Loss

The Nationals are in a rut. Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Florida Marlins dropped them to six games below .500. It was their fifth loss in a row.

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Marlins Vs. Nationals Final Score: Washington Drops Fifth Straight, Loses 5-2

The Washington Nationals' losing ways continued on Thursday afternoon, as they dropped yet another game to the Florida Marlins, 5-2. The loss is the Nationals' fifth straight and drops them to six games under .500. It also means that the Marlins, who were once in last place in the division, have swept the Nationals in a series in their ballpark.

The Marlins broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning on a sacrifice bunt, then extended the lead to 3-1 on a sixth-inning home run by Mike Stanton. The Marlins added another run in the inning and ended up adding an insurance run in the eighth to push the lead to 5-2. Jayson Werth ended up driving in both runs for the Nationals.

John Lannan didn't pitch horribly, but did pick up the loss, dropping to 7-7 on the year. Brian Sanches got the victory to move to 4-1 on the year.

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Marlins Vs. Nationals Score: Marlins Lead Nationals, 4-1

The Florida Marlins tacked on two insurance runs to stretch their lead to 4-1 over the Washington Nationals in the top of the sixth inning of their Thursday afternoon game at Nationals Park.

The first run came on a Mike Stanton solo home run off Nats starter John Lannan, and the second on an RBI single by Emilio Bonifacio off reliever Sean Burnett. Lannan was charged with both runs, giving him four earned in 5 2/3 innings on the day. 

Marlins starter Brad Hand lasted just 3 2/3 innings after walking six Nationals hitters, but only gave up one run on a Jayson Werth single in the third inning with the bases loaded. 

Ryan Zimmerman is 2-3 with a double, upping his batting average to .268. 

After his sixth-inning home run, Mike Stanton is now tied with Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp for second in the National League with 24 dingers on the year. 

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Marlins vs. Nationals: Washington Looks To Avoid Sweep In Matinee

Since reaching the .500 mark on July 18, the Washington Nationals have lost six of seven games to drop their record to 49-54, including four straight after a 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers

That win was keyed by starting pitcher John Lannan, who allowed just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings, and hit a two-run homer in the second inning. He'll take his 7-6 record and 3.51 ERA to the mound Thursday afternoon for the Nationals, who hope to break out of their recent funk under newly-hired manager Davey Johnson. 

The Marlins will send 21-year-old southpaw Brad Hand (1-3, 2.77 ERA) to the mound at Nationals Park. The rookie has just five starts in his major league career, and is coming off his best performance since being promoted to the big leagues on June 7. The youngster pitches seven scoreless innings against the Houston Astros, limiting them to just two hits while earning his first major league win. 

Here is the Nationals' lineup:

  1. Jerry Hairston (CF)
  2. Danny Espinosa (2B)
  3. Ryan Zimmerman (3B)
  4. Michael Morse (1B)
  5. Jayson Werth (RF)
  6. Jonny Gomes (LF)
  7. Ian Desmond (SS)
  8. Wilson Ramos (C)
  9. John Lannan (P)
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