Tom Gorzelanny thwarts Marlins in seven sharp innings

MIAMI -- The Washington Nationals stole as many hits as they gave up.

Flashy defense made work easier Saturday for Tom Gorzelanny and the bullpen, who combined on a two-hitter to beat the Florida Marlins 5-2.

"To be successful, you've got to have good defense," Gorzelanny said.

Second baseman Danny Espinosa made catches to rob Hanley Ramirez and Emilio Bonifacio of hits. Right fielder Jayson Werth fielded a bloop single by Mike Stanton, then threw behind him for an inning-ending out at first base.

Gorzelanny (2-2) went seven innings and gave up a two-run homer to John Buck -- the only runs allowed by the left-hander in his past 18 1/3 innings. Sean Burnett pitched a perfect eighth, and Drew Storen followed with a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save in as many chances.

Storen has pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings. The Nationals bullpen has allowed one run in 24 innings over the past 10 games for an ERA of 0.38.

Florida's final baserunner was Stanton, who singled a teammate to third with two outs in the sixth and the score 3-2. When he took a wide turn, Werth threw behind him and first baseman Adam LaRoche made the tag.

"The timing just worked out perfectly," Werth said. "It's just one of those plays that's hard to explain and you kind of dream about. It just kind of shows up in your lap -- the guy took an aggressive turn."

The Marlins have totaled four runs in the first two games of the series.

"We're not hitting the ball, and we're not helping ourselves," Buck said. "When we do catch a break, we have mental errors or just not smart baserunning moves."

Roger Bernadina, recalled by Washington before the game from Triple-A Syracuse, had two hits and scored a run batting leadoff. He had the first of four consecutive singles to begin the game against Chris Volstad (2-2).

"I tried to get something started, and it turned out well," Bernadina said. "I'm real excited to be back up in the big league. I'll definitely try to make something happen."

Teammate Ian Desmond singled, tripled, scored twice and drove in a run.

Marlins third baseman Wes Helms struck out three times. He also was charged with two errors, one for obstruction, on a single play to help Washington score twice in the ninth.

Ramirez went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .195.

Volstad allowed three runs in six innings for the Marlins, who have lost three consecutive games for the first time this season. They fell to 16-1 when they hit a homer.

"I think this is the first time we've been struggling two games in a row," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "The effort was there, we're just struggling. We've been struggling scoring runs."

Gorzelanny faced the Marlins for the first time since May 14, 2007, and he had them flummoxed.

"He's very deceptive," Helms said. "He doesn't throw hard, but he mixes his pitches well. He's one of those crafty lefties who rolls with what he's got."

Gorzelanny struck out six, walked four and lowered his ERA to 2.87, but said he struggled to get comfortable on the mound.

"I didn't really feel the best," he said. "I was just trying to battle, get outs quick and find a way."

Desmond tripled in the fifth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Werth to put the Nationals up 3-2. Desmond hiked his lifetime average against Volstad to .611 (11 for 18).

Bernadina, filling in for injured center fielder Rick Ankiel, led off the game with a single to start a rally. Adam LaRoche's bases-loaded single scored two runs before Volstad escaped further damage.

Buck's homer in the second inning made the score 2-all.

Two mistakes by Helms on one play helped Washington score in the ninth. With Jerry Hairston at second, pinch-hitter Matt Stairs hit a grounder that rolled under Helms' glove for an error. Hairston slowed to avoid colliding with Helms, then was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Bonifacio. But umpire Fieldin Culbreth called Helms for obstruction and ruled Hairston safe at home.

"I just didn't get my glove down enough," Helms said. "Then I looked up, and there he was. It was one of those weird plays."

Desmond's sacrifice fly made it 5-2.

Game notes
RHP Anibal Sanchez, scheduled to start Sunday, is 5-0 in 14 starts against Washington with an ERA of 2.34. ... Werth was 1 for 22 lifetime against Volstad before he singled in the first. ... Stairs is 1 for 14 as a pinch-hitter.