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Nationals Take On Marlins In Jordan Zimmermann Second Start This Season

(Sports Network) - The Nationals have high hopes that Stephen Strasburg will be able to have a successful return from Tommy John surgery down the road. They have similar feelings for former second-round pick Jordan Zimmermann.

The 24-year-old will make his second start since having the procedure and hopes to help Washington to a season-high fourth victory in a row this evening in the middle contest of a three-game set versus the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium.

Zimmermann went 3-5 with a 4.63 earned run average in 16 starts last year before right elbow pain forced him to the disabled list and eventual Tommy John surgery. He made his return on Thursday, but it was a rough one as the righty gave up five runs over four innings of a no-decision versus the Cardinals.

"I felt good the whole time," Zimmermann told Washington's website after making his first start since July 18 of last year. "The first three innings were good. The fourth inning, I wish I could have over."

Zimmermann faced the Marlins for the first and only time on July 1 of last year, getting a no-decision while allowing two runs over six frames.

The Wisconsin-born hurler will try to extend Washington's three-game winning streak, its first since July 29-31, after the club took last night's opener, 9-3, thanks in part to three-run homers by Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn.

Dunn added an RBI double and Jason Marquis picked up his first victory in eight decisions this year and first since Sept. 8, 2009. Washington did not seem fazed after the start of the game was delayed by two hours and 49 minutes due to rain.

"The conditions were sloppy for the outfielders, but everything else was fine," said Washington manager Jim Riggleman.

The victory halted Washington's five-game losing streak to Florida and was just its seventh in its last 27 trips to Miami.

Hanley Ramirez, who left Sunday's game early after feeling lightheaded, hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning, while Brett Hayes added a two- run homer for the Marlins, who have lost three in a row.

Alex Sanabia allowed four runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings to take the loss.

"It was an overall bad game. We lacked clutch hitting. We played bad defense," said Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez after his club was charged with a pair of errors and four wild pitches.

While Ramirez returned to action last night, Dan Uggla did not play because of a right groin strain that has him day-to-day.

Anibal Sanchez seeks a third straight winning start tonight. He bested the Mets on Thursday for his third victory in four outings even though he gave up four runs on nine hits and five walks over five innings of an 11-4 triumph.

"Sanchez didn't have his best game, but, still, he battled and kept us in the game," said Rodriguez. "He didn't have the command of his fastball -- that's why he was struggling."

The 26-year-old righty is 11-8 with a 3.29 ERA in 25 starts and has a 2.69 ERA in 12 outings at home this year. He has also never lost to the Nationals, going 4-0 with a 2.66 ERA in 11 starts. He beat them in Washington on Aug. 10, yielding just two unearned runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings.