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Patterson strikes out 13 Marlins, Nats end skid at 6

MIAMI (AP) -- John Patterson earned the victory. Credit reserve
second baseman Brendan Harris with the save.

Harris made a leaping grab for the final out, robbing Josh
Willingham of a game-tying RBI single, and the Washington Nationals
broke a six-game losing streak by beating the Florida Marlins 2-1
Saturday night.

Patterson (1-0) allowed three hits in eight innings and matched
a career high with 13 strikeouts, but the Nationals still needed
Harris' heroics.

With runners at first and second and two out in the ninth, the
6-foot-1 infielder jumped to catch Willingham's liner in the web of
his glove.

"That was basically lucky," said Harris, playing for an
injured Jose Vidro. "I timed it right. That was at the peak of my
jump when I caught it. That's about as high as I can get."

The defensive gem left the young Marlins 0-4 in one-run games.

"We can lose some tough games, can't we?" manager Joe Girardi
said. "When you first see the ball hit, you think, `Tie game.'
It's amazing how your emotions go up and then go right back down."

Thanks to Harris, struggling closer Chad Cordero earned
Washington's first save despite walking two in the ninth.

Royce Clayton doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth for the
Nationals, who had been off to the franchise's worst start since
1970. They improved to 3-9.

"I can't explain how badly we needed this," manager Frank
Robinson said.

Patterson retired the first 13 batters, eight on strikeouts,
before Willingham doubled off the scoreboard. Chris Aguila followed
with a double to give the Marlins a brief 1-0 lead.

Florida's only other hit was a two-out single off the scoreboard
in the eighth by pinch-hitter Wes Helms, who was thrown out trying
to stretch it into a double.

Patterson left for a pinch-hitter after throwing 108 pitches. He
walked only one, and that was intentional.

"I had all my pitches tonight," he said. "I felt very, very
confident when I came to the ballpark. I don't want to sound cocky,
but I had a good feeling."

Washington came from behind with two runs in the sixth by taking
advantage of rookie Scott Olsen's wildness, both to the plate and
to first base. He walked three in the inning and made a wild throw
to first that allowed the tying run to score.

Florida pitchers walked 10, but Washington mustered only five
hits without Vidro and Jose Guillen, both sidelined Friday by
injuries.

"With us right now, you can give us 20 walks and it'll still be
a 2-1 or 3-2 game," Robinson said.

The status of Vidro and Guillen is day to day, but neither is
expected to play Sunday.

Olsen (0-1), making his first appearance of the season, walked
six in 5 1-3 innings but shut out the Nationals until the sixth.

Alfonso Soriano led off the inning with a walk, and after he was
thrown out trying to steal, Nick Johnson also walked. Olsen then
fielded Ryan Zimmerman's roller up the first-base line and rushed a
wild, off-balance throw for an error.

"As soon as I threw it, I said, `That's not going to be
good," Olsen said. Johnson, running with the pitch, scored from
first.

Olsen left after walking Harris, and Clayton's double put
Washington ahead. Harris was thrown out trying to score.

Patterson struck out six of the first seven batters, and the
Marlins quickly became frustrated. Miguel Cabrera struck out
swinging on a breaking pitch out of the zone to end the fourth,
then slammed his bat to the ground. He struck for the third time in
the sixth and flipped the bat over his head.

"Patterson lived on the outside corner and came in when he had
to," Girardi said. "He didn't give our guys much to hit."

Game notes
Summer's coming: The temperature was 83 degrees for the
6:05 p.m. start. ... The new jumbo scoreboard had some early
glitches -- Patterson's first pitch registered at 43 mph, and then
next two clocked in at 49. ... Marlins first base coach Perry Hill
missed his second game in a row for personal reasons. ... The
Marlins' bullpen extended its scoreless streak to 12 2-3 innings.