Church had no idea that Marlins second baseman Jason Wood had retrieved the ball and had a good shot at throwing him out at the plate.
Wood fired home, but Church slid in safely when Matt Treanor couldn't handle the throw and Washington beat Florida 6-5 on Friday night.
"I had no clue, I didn't know the second baseman had it," Church said. "I thought it bounced off Jacobs and went into the outfield. (Third base coach) Tom Tolman was waving me so I was gone."
Church singled to right off of Lee Gardner to lead off the 14th inning and stole second. Chris Snelling's two-out liner hit off Jacobs' glove, and while Wood quickly retrieved it, Treanor bobbled the throw and Florida lost for the sixth straight time.
"I don't want to say that we can't get a break because we had some opportunities," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Jesus Colome (2-0) picked up the win for the Nationals with three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks and striking out two. Saul Rivera recorded his first save of the season, getting Aaron Boone to ground out to end the game with Wood on third base.
Gardner (0-1) took the loss for the Marlins. He allowed one run and one hit in one inning.
Pinch-hitter Cody Ross hit a 440-foot home run to left-center field in the bottom of the ninth inning off of closer Chad Cordero to tie it at 5-5 for the Marlins, who were down 5-0 at one point. It was Cordero's second blown save in three opportunities.
"I'm concerned because he's my closer and he knows and we know what the problem is. He's still pitching behind in the count," Washington manager Manny Acta said.
The Marlins let an opportunity slip away in the bottom of the 13th inning when Boone led off the inning with a double to left field off of Colome. After two outs and a walk by Cody Ross, Colome intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez. Treanor, a 31-year-old backup catcher, struck out swinging.
"It's not always an easy decision, but you don't want to give in to Ramirez," Acta said.
"Honestly I am just thinking that I want to start it off by getting on base," Ross said. "I've been seeing a lot of sliders lately and he hung one over the plate and I got a good part of the bat on it. Luckily it went out."
With Marlins lefthander Scott Olsen struggling to find his command, Ronnie Belliard hit his first home run of the season to left field to give the Nationals a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning. The 379-foot home run ended a 2-for-22 slide for Belliard.
"He got his nine iron out and hit a home run," Olsen said. "There's nothing I can do. The ball is ankle high and he hits a home run."
Nationals starter Shawn Hill did not allow a hit until the fourth inning when Alfredo Amezaga hit a one-out single to right field. Hill pitched six innings, allowing two runs and four hits. He struck out six and walked two. Hill suffered a strained left shoulder while diving back to third base. He could miss his next start, Acta said. Hill has a 2.92 ERA in four starts.
"It was stupid on my part," said Hill on the play.
The Marlins, who played without their All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera, lost their sixth straight. Cabrera was held out of the lineup with a sore right oblique muscle. He hopes to play on Saturday.
Olsen gave up five runs and 10 hits, walking three and striking out three in five innings.
Jacobs had his right thumb X-rayed following the game. He hurt his thumb on the single by Snelling in the 14th inning. X-ray results were negative and he expects to be in the lineup on Saturday. .. Acta has praised Church for his defensive efforts in center field this season and Church came up with a big assist, throwing out Boone trying to go from first to third on a single by Miguel Olivio in the eighth inning. ... The Nationals were 1-for-36 in the first inning in their last 12 games before Felipe Lopez led off the game with a single. ... Olsen has walked 15 batters in 18 innings this season. ... With a single in the eighth inning Jacobs has reached base in 19 straight games, dating back to last season. ... The Marlins have lost eight of their last nine games after beginning the season with a 5-2 record.