WASHINGTON — Martin Prado won’t soon forget the lessons of this year’s regular-season finale.
The Miami third baseman served as the Marlins’ manager in Sunday’s 10-7 loss to the Washington Nationals, continuing a tradition actual manager Don Mattingly was a part of while working under Joe Torre in New York and Los Angeles and later when he managed the Dodgers.
“Sometime you question managers making decisions,” Prado said. “Now that I was in that spot for only one game, I don’t know if I can do it. There’s so much stuff. The games speed up and there’s so many thing you have to be aware of. I won’t ever say anything bad about any manager.”
Washington starter Max Scherzer (20-7) allowed five runs in five innings while striking out seven to secure his second career 20-win season, while Mark Melancon pitched the ninth to earn his 47th save in 51 chances. Austin Brice (0-1) gave up three runs in an inning for Miami (79-82), which recorded its best record since going 80-82 in 2010.
Miami erased a 5-2 deficit in the fifth inning under its player-manager, and later pulled within 8-7 before leaving two men on base in the eighth. Outfielder Destin Hood and catcher Tomas Telis both hit two-run shots off Scherzer for their first career home runs.
“It was good,” Mattingly said. “He had them fighting the whole way. I thought he did a nice job. I thought the guys did a great job of just continuing to play and keep coming. I think it’s kind of symbolic of this club. They kept playing hard all year long.”
Prado went 1-for-2 before removing himself from the game in the middle of the third inning. The 11th-year veteran finished the year batting .305 with eight homers and 75 RBIs.
He was also caught stealing third base to end the first inning.
“It was a bad idea with two outs. You have to make sure you steal third and not be out,” Prado said. “There was a lot going in through my head. It was a bad decision by the manager.”
Washington broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth on Wilmer Difo’s RBI fielder’s choice. Shortstop Danny Espinosa drilled the next pitch to right for his 24th home run to put the Nationals up 8-5.
Marlins starter Tom Koehler walked the bases loaded to open the second inning before catcher Jose Lobaton hit a sacrifice fly. Against a drawn-in infield, Scherzer hit one up the middle to score two more runs.
A similar scenario unfolded in the fourth, when the first two men reached base and Lobaton sacrificed. Again, the Marlins brought the infield in. Again, Scherzer poked one up the middle to drive in two. The four RBIs are the most for a Nationals pitcher since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005.
Marlins: Catcher J.T. Realmuto was out of the lineup on back-to-back days for the first time all season. He hit .303 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs, and his .301 average as a catcher set a club record previously held by Ivan Rodriguez (.300 in 2003).
Nationals: LF Jayson Werth (back tightness) sat out the second day in a row.
Marlins: After improving from 71 victories last year to 79 in manager Don Mattingly’s first season, Miami will try to record its first winning record since 2009 next year.
Nationals: Scherzer is expected to meet Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69) when the Dodgers visit Nationals Park for Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday.