MIAMI (AP) Eury Perez's Miami Marlins teammates where waiting for him as soon as he made it to the locker room following his first major league win.
Nearly a week after he debuted as the youngest pitcher in Marlins history (20 years and 27 days), Perez pitched five solid innings to help Miami to a 5-3 win and series sweep of the Washington Nationals Thursday afternoon.
And then there was the ‘special celebration.’
“I told them I have new shoes so please be careful with my shoes," Perez said through a translator. "They poured ketchup and a bunch of stuff all over me.”
The victory stretched the Marlins’ winning streak to four games. With the New York Mets struggling, Miami (23-21) is second in the NL East behind Atlanta (27-16). Although it’s early, it’s a welcomed sign for a team that has had one winning season - the pandemic-shortened 2020 season - in 14 years.
“We just find ways to win," said Marlins manager Skip Schumaker. "Sometimes its not the prettiest, but at the end of the day, the winning is the most important part of your day.”
Perez (1-0) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out six on Thursday. His fastball reached 98.3 mph.
“I tried to make adjustments from the previous game,” Perez said. “Getting used to the league - getting used to playing baseball at this level. What made it better was the fastball.”
Perez is on a pitch limit and was replaced by Matt Barnes in the sixth at 78 pitches.
“I wanted to continue,” Perez said. “I was making eye contact with Mel (pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre) a lot of times. He was smiling, and he told me ‘For the next one we’ll let you go a little deeper.'”
Jeimer Candelario tagged Perez in the fourth with a solo shot that went 443 feet to center for his fifth home run of the season.
Trailing 4-1 in the eighth, Washington used four straight hits against reliever Huascar Brazoban to cut the deficit to a run. Candelario drove in Luis Garcia with a double to right before Corey Dickerson’s one-out RBI single in the next at-bat.
Brazoban got Keibert Ruiz to ground into a double play to end the threat, and Nick Fortes gave Miami a two-run cushion in the bottom half with a two-out RBI single. Dylan Floro pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the season.
De La Cruz gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead with a solo homer off starter Trevor Williams (1-2) in the second. Jean Segura made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the third.
Segura has reached safely in each of the past six games. He was 5 for 12 in the series.
Xavier Edwards’ line drive two-out RBI single in the fourth pushed Miami’s lead to 3-1 after Candelario put the Nationals on the board.
Candelario has 11 hits in his past 15 plate appearances.
“I’m making good contact and trying to have good ABs,” Candelario said. "Just trying to help my team. That’s all I want.”
Williams allowed five hits, three runs, walked one and struck out five before reliever Mason Thompson replaced him in the seventh and gave up an RBI single to Garrett Cooper to make it 4-1.
Nationals: RHP Jake Irvin (1-1, 4.11) will start the series opener vs Detroit on Friday. Washington has an upcoming six-game homestand.
Marlins: The Marlins will begin a 10-game road trip against San Francisco, Colorado and the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. RHP Sandy Alcantara (1-4, 4.91) will start the series opener at San Francisco on Friday.
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