WASHINGTON -- Miami's trip to Washington is rapidly turning into a series filled with frustration.
For the second straight day, the Marlins wasted a great effort from their starting pitcher and couldn't get the right hit at the right time. Logan Morrison's two-run homer in the ninth forced extra innings, but a crucial 10th-inning error set up the winning run that gave the Nationals a 3-2 victory over Miami before 26,745 at Nationals Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Marlins (7-8) experienced the same troubles they did in Friday's 2-0 loss. They went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base. They're now 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the series, with 15 stranded.
Carlos Zambrano allowed just one run on two hits in seven innings Friday night. Anibal Sanchez fared almost as well Saturday, giving up two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings. But the Marlins are now 0-2 in the series.
"It seemed like a rewind [of] a movie from last night's game," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Hopefully we'll start swinging the bat a little bit better. We've got to take advantage of [our] opportunities. With the pitching we're facing, we can't take anything for granted."
And that's why first baseman Gaby Sanchez's throwing error in the 10th led to trouble. Washington (12-4) took a 2-0 lead on solo homers from Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth off of Sanchez.
But the Marlins finally rallied in the ninth against Brad Lidge. Hanley Ramirez led off with a walk, and Morrison tied the game when he crushed a long homer to right on an 0-1 pitch. Morrison, working his way back after offseason knee surgery, said he wasn't going to swing at one of Lidge's patented sliders, and he ended up with his first homer of the year.
"He gave me a fastball to drive, and I was able to actually drive it this time," Morrison said. "I wasn't going to try to swing at his pitch."
Tom Gorzelanny (1-0) retired the Marlins in order in the top of the 10th before everything fell apart in the bottom half. Wilson Ramos led off with a single against Edward Mujica (0-1). Adam LaRoche followed with a grounder that Sanchez speared near first base. He spun and tried to nail Ramos at second, but his throw was a little high and hit off the glove of a leaping Jose Reyes.
The ball rolled into the outfield and let Ramos go to third base. Sanchez was charged with a throwing error, but Reyes later took some of the blame.
"I think I need to make that play," Reyes said. "I can't take my eyes [off] of the ball at the last moment. That's the play I should make. The throw was right there."
Desmond then ended it with a sacrifice fly to center. Emilio Bonifacio tried to throw home, but Ramos scored easily.
"I know, early, he had a bad rap, but [Desmond] is a heck of an athlete," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "When he first came in here, he tried to do too much. I told him when he put it all together, he could be like Barry Larkin -- steal bases, hit one, two or three in the lineup, be a run producer."
Anibal Sanchez kept the Marlins close once again. He came into the game with a 7-0 career record vs. Washington and didn't want to let the Nationals get far ahead with Stephen Strasburg starting.
Strasburg threw six shutout innings and kept Miami quiet most of the time. But the Marlins did have some good scoring chances and again couldn't come through.
They were hurt in a variety of ways. In the second, Greg Dobbs struck out to end the inning. However, that came after the umpires ruled what might have been catcher's interference to be a foul ball. Morrison was already on base, so that would have put two on.
But when Dobbs swung, he said he hit catcher Ramos' glove. Strasburg's pitch hit home-plate umpire Greg Gibson, who went down in pain. The umpires conferred and ruled it a foul ball.
The Marlins left a runner on third base in the fourth inning, another on second in the fifth, two on in the sixth, one on second in the eighth, plus two more after Morrison tied it with his homer in the ninth.
The Marlins' team batting average slipped to .245. They have scored just two runs in 19 innings so far against the Nationals. But Guillen said he's still got plenty of confidence in his team's offense, and Miami is just going through a dry spell right now.
"We're playing well," Guillen said. "We're going to hit. We're going to do the little things and it'll come around for us."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.