Giancarlo Stanton is on a historic home run pace, and the next two days could land him among even more exclusive company.
Stanton hit a long homer in the first inning, his 51st this season, to open the scoring following a 26-minute rain delay. His August output matched the mark set by Rudy York with the Detroit Tigers in 1937.
Sammy Sosa set the record for homers in a month when he hit 20 in June 1998, and Stanton has two games left this month to catch the former Cubs slugger. He will face Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday before Miami returns home to begin a series against Philadelphia on Thursday.
"That's pretty cool," Stanton said of matching York's record. "Any major league record is a pretty awesome feat. We didn't get the win, but to be able to do that is pretty cool."
Stanton's 51 homers in 131 games approximates the pace set by Sosa (51) and Mark McGwire (53) when they surpassed Roger Maris' longtime record of 61 home runs in a season in 1998. Stanton added an RBI with a deep sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
The Nationals, 16-7 since Aug. 6, hold a 14-game lead over the second-place Marlins.
Rendon's three-run double in the seventh with two outs came after Washington's bullpen thwarted a rally earlier in the inning. The third baseman also added a run-scoring single.
Washington shortstop Trea Turner went 1 for 4 with a double and a walk in his first game since breaking his right wrist on June 29.
Nationals starter Edwin Jackson (5-3) allowed three runs — two earned — and six hits over six innings plus four batters.
Trailing 5-2 entering the seventh, Miami scored one run on Jackson's throwing error and loaded the bases on Stanton's intentional walk with no outs. Relievers Oliver Perez and Matt Albers ended the threat with two groundballs and a strikeout to help Jackson earn his third win in four starts.
"The game-changer was definitely the bullpen coming in and picking me up," a relieved Jackson said.
Junichi Tazawa allowed Rendon's double and three runs in the seventh.
The Nationals had five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings against Vance Worley (2-4). The journeyman surprisingly held Washington to one run over 13 innings in back-to-back wins during the first eight days of August.
Washington activated Turner from the 60-day disabled list before Tuesday's game. After Stanton's homer, Jackson loaded the bases with two outs on three walks. Turner saved further trouble with a full-out dive to his right on Tomas Telis' sinking liner.
"He looked pretty good. Played flawless defense at shortstop," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (left arm fatigue) allowed two hits in 1 2/3 innings during a rehab start with Class A Jupiter.
Nationals: OF Bryce Harper, who hyperextended his left knee on Aug. 12, is "improving," Baker said. Harper is walking without a limp, but hasn't resumed any baseball activities or drills. ... RHP Ryan Madson (finger sprain) will rejoin the team Thursday in Milwaukee and be re-evaluated. ... Washington sent INF Adrian Sanchez to Triple-A Syracuse and moved OF Ryan Raburn (left trapezius strain) to the 60-day DL with Turner returning. ... INF Stephen Drew, out since July 26 with a left abdominal injury, may require a "procedure" that could end his season, Baker said. Drew was moved to the 60-day DL on Monday.
Miami squandered big scoring chances with the bases loaded in the first and seventh innings and went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Washington finished 6 for 10.
"Really was the key to the game," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We had chances to do some things and we didn't take advantage. They had some chances to do some things and they did."
Marlins: LHP Adam Conley (6-5, 5.17 ERA) allowed five runs and 11 hits in a 10-1 loss to the Nationals on Aug. 9. He'll face the Nationals on Wednesday.
Nationals: Strasburg (10-4, 3.10 ERA) is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.