Cody Poteet delivers in spot start as Miami Marlins beat Nationals

© Miami Herald

Cody Poteet of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at loanDepot park on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Miami. - Megan Briggs/Getty Images North America/TNS

MIAMI — The Miami Marlins weren’t asking Cody Poteet to change anything when he took the mound for his spot start. They liked the work that he was doing as a long reliever out of the bullpen. They hoped, for at least one day, the success would translate as he reverted back to starting pitching duties as he temporarily fills in for the injured Jesus Luzardo in Miami’s rotation.

Consider Tuesday’s performance against the Washington Nationals a success.

Poteet faced one batter over the minimum as he worked 4 2/3 scoreless innings as the Marlins beat the Nationals, 5-1, at loanDepot park. Miami improves to 17-19, while the Nationals fall to 12-26.

The 27-year-old righty allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out four and needed just 54 pitches to record his 14 outs.

Poteet retired the first 10 batters he faced before Juan Soto reached on an infield single with one out in the fourth. Josh Bell hit into an inning-ending double play the next at-bat. The only other baserunner Poteet allowed was a one-out walk to Yadiel Hernandez in the fifth.

It was similar to what Poteet has done all season out of the bullpen. He entered Tuesday having given up just one earned run over 16 1/3 innings — good for a 0.55 ERA — while throwing more than two innings in three of his eight outings.

Miguel Rojas and Jesus Sanchez hit solo home runs to put runs on the board for the Marlins. Miami then scored two more runs in the seventh on a pair of Nationals fielding errors and capped scoring with a Jacob Stallings eighth-inning single that scored Brian Anderson.

The bullpen of Anthony Bender (one inning), Steven Okert (2/3 inning), Anthony Bass (2/3 inning), Tanner Scott (1 1/3 inning) and Cole Sulser (2/3 inning) followed Poteet’s outing by holding the Nationals to one run — a Bell sacrifice fly in the eighth scoring Victor Robles — over the final 4 1/3 innings.

Sound the alarm?

As Marlins manager Don Mattingly made his way to the mound to remove Poteet from the game, the fire alarm at loanDepot park began blaring and resulted in a temporary delay.

After a couple minutes of confusion, the Marlins announced the incident was a false alarm.

One the alarms quieted, Bender eventually made his way to the mound and struck out Maikel Franco on five pitches to end the inning.

De La Cruz exits

Bryan De La Cruz, who was making his second consecutive start in center field for the Marlins, was removed in the fifth inning with a right forearm contusion after being hit by a 96.3-mph Joan Adon fastball in the bottom of the fourth. De La Cruz went to the ground immediately after being hit and was checked on by team trainer Lee Meyer and Mattingly before making his way to first base.

Sanchez replaced De La Cruz in center field and belted out his fourth home run of the season — a 425-foot shot to center field — in the sixth inning to give Miami an insurance run.

More injury updates

— Jon Berti and Richard Bleier, both of whom have been on the injured list after testing positive for COVID-19, were at the ballpark on Tuesday. Neither has been activated from the IL yet as they return to baseball shape after being sidelined for more than a week. The anticipation is that both will go through a brief rehab assignment before returning, similar to Brian Anderson’s path back to the club last week.

— Joey Wendle, on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain, has been taking batting practice. Saturday is the first day he can be reinstated.