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Scherzer's dominant 7 innings, Papelbon 1st save for Nats lifts Washington over Marlins 1-0

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MIAMI — 's debut with the Washington Nationals was just as they envisioned.

It was perfect, just like his season so far.

scattered three hits over seven innings, Papelbon got his first save for Washington with a flawless ninth inning and the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 1-0 on Thursday.

"To be honest, very nervous," Papelbon said when asked he how felt entering his Washington debut. "I can't really explain it. You come here to a team and expect to win and expect to do your job. That's all that's expected of me. I'm glad it's out of the way.

Backed by 's second-inning homer off , Scherzer (11-8) struck out six and lowered his ERA to 2.22.

Former closer pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two in his new setup role.

"I was in the shower with Storen and said to him, 'Can you show me that slider grip?'" Papelbon said. "He was really, really good."

Acquired Tuesday from Philadelphia, Papelbon retired on a comebacker, got to line out and struck out pinch-hitter for his 18th save in 18 chances this season.

Morse, the subject of trade rumors for several days, made his final appearance for the Marlins. He and pitcher were traded later Thursday to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three minor league right-handers.

"It's been weird," Morse said postgame. "I don't think this is usually what happens, these kind of moments and stuff. It's been a weird year for me and a weird year for this team. So I couldn't expect anything less."

Morse's season took another turn later in the day when he was designated for assignment by the Dodgers.

Zimmerman led off the second with a homer to left off Haren (7-7), who gave up four hits in six innings and lowered his ERA to 3.42.

Zimmerman, who returned to the lineup this week after missing 49 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, had two hits for Washington, as did .

Yelich had two hits for Miami, which dropped two of three to the NL East leaders.

"Scherzer was obviously on his game," said Haren, also the subject of trade rumors. "He's a great pitcher. He was just better today."

The Nationals head to New York to take on the Mets in a weekend series pitting the top two teams in the NL East.

Scherzer — who walked a season-high three, matching the total issued in his last eight starts combined entering Thursday — lost three-ball counts to pinch-hitter and Suzuki in the sixth, marking just the second time this season he walked two in the same inning.

That brought Yelich up with one out. Yelich was 2 for 2 to that point, while the rest of the Marlins were 0 for 14, but Scherzer induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

"If you don't score, you're not going to win," Marlins manager said, after the club endured its 26th game of scoring one run or less. "Plain and simple."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP (left oblique strain) gave up four hits and three earned runs in four innings Wednesday night when Triple-A Syracuse lost to Buffalo 8-5. Strasburg threw 64 pitches, 44 for strikes. He hasn't pitched in the majors since July 4.

Marlins: C got the start for the 12:10 p.m. game, with having been behind the plate in each of the first two night games of the series. Mathis has been in 16 games this season, 10 of them being day games. Realmuto entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

WEEKEND LOOKAHEAD

The Nationals are 6-4 against the Mets this season. They'll meet six more times after this weekend. "It's only August," Scherzer said. Let's not try to get ahead and say it's September 15, when you have to live and die by every pitch."

UP NEXT:

Nationals: LHP (8-4, 3.83) gets the start Friday night when Washington opens a big weekend series in New York against the Mets and RHP (9-7, 3.16). Gonzalez is 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his last five starts, and 6-1 in his career on the road against the Mets.

Marlins: RHP (4-7, 3.86) starts Friday in the opener of a series against San Diego at Marlins Park. The Marlins have given Phelps a total of four runs of support in his last six outings. RHP (6-9, 4.58) is the scheduled starter for the Padres.

PHOTO: Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Miami.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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PHOTO: Washington Nationals closing pitcher Jonathan Papelbon throws in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Miami. The Nationals defeated the Marlins 1-0. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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