WASHINGTON --The Miami Marlins downplayed right-hander Henderson Alvarez's early exit from Wednesday's game with what the team originally termed elbow stiffness.
Following the Marlins' 8-5 win over the Washington Nationals, Alvarez said he felt tightness in his arm but doesn't believe it will prevent him from making his next start.
Alvarez was seemingly in command as he held the Nationals without a run on five hits through five innings. He was removed after throwing 62 pitches. There was no drop in his velocity.
"I think he's fine. He wanted to keep pitching but we wanted to make sure it didn't become anything serious," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
Alvarez said he felt the sensation all over his arm throughout the game and that he has experienced it before.
"I've felt it in several starts. I didn't feel it in the previous start. But in San Diego I did feel tight," he said.
That may account for inconsistency in his performances. In his previous outing, Alvarez shut out the Philadelphia Phillies for seven innings on four hits. At San Diego on May 11, he gave up five runs in four innings.
HEADY PLAY: A key play in Wednesday's win didn't show up in the box score, but it was a game-saver.
With two Nationals on and no outs in the bottom of the eighth, reliever Mike Dunn fielded Denard Span's bunt and threw wildly past first. But second baseman Derek Dietrich, backing up the play, was perfectly positioned to intercept the errant throw, saving at least two runs.
After loading the bases with no outs, Dunn kept the Nationals from scoring in an exhaustive 35-pitch effort that included a 10-pitch strikeout of Anthony Rendon.
"Bear down, that's pretty much the extent of it. I had nowhere to put anybody," Dunn said.
BATTLE FOR FIRST: The Miami Heat hosting Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals will overshadow the opener of the Marlins' three-game showdown with the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.
Right-hander Tom Koehler will try to rebound from his worst start of the season, seven runs in five innings in a loss to Milwaukee. He was slated to pitch Wednesday in Washington but a rainout gave him a couple of extra days.
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