Last time out, Shairon Martis gave the Nationals a much-needed quality start for their first victory of the season. On Tuesday night, he’ll try to lead Washington to its first back-to-back wins and an eighth straight home victory over the Atlanta Braves.
After the Nationals (2-10) tied a franchise record with seven losses to open the season, Martis gave up two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings as Washington defeated Phillies 8-2 on Thursday.
“This was a very important outing,” manager Manny Acta said. “Starting the season 0-7, with all the pressure of ‘Who’s going to win the first game?’ ‘Who’s going to have the first quality start?’”
Martis (1-0, 4.82 ERA) was limited to three innings because of an extended rain delay in the fourth inning of his first start of the season, a 6-5, 10-inning loss at Atlanta on April 10. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up three runs and five hits.
The teams endured a 2-hour, 10-minute rain delay prior to Monday’s series opener, then waited another 33 minutes before the rain-soaked field was uncovered. The Nationals won 3-2 before a crowd of 12,473, a franchise low since the team relocated from Montreal.
“Pretty impressive,” Acta said of Jordan Zimmerman, who gave up two runs and six hits in six innings to win his major league debut. “Especially that this wasn’t the nicest day to play baseball.”
Martis will look to follow that effort with his first career win over Atlanta. He’s 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in two starts versus the Braves.
While Washington tries to win two straight for the first time this season, the Braves (6-7) look for Kenshin Kawakami (1-1, 5.25) to have another solid outing against the Nationals.
In his major league debut April 11, Kawakami gave up three runs in six innings of a 5-3 win over Washington.
“I thought for his first appearance in the United States, he was outstanding, a great addition to the team,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said of the 33-year-old right-hander, who signed a three-year contract in January.
In his last appearance, Kawakami allowed five runs and five hits over six innings of a 6-2 loss to Florida on Thursday. He’s recorded 15 strikeouts in his two starts but walked seven.
Jones is 1-for-3 with two walks in his career against Martis.
Atlanta catcher Brian McCann missed his second straight game Monday and is questionable for Tuesday, when he’s scheduled to see a doctor due to blurriness in his left eye. McCann has one hit in his last 20 at-bats.
“He can come into a game and help you, but right now we don’t want to start him,” Cox said.
McCann is 3-for-4 with two doubles in his career versus Martis.
Washington catcher Jesus Flores went 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs in Monday’s victory. He was 1-for-7 as Atlanta swept the three-game series at Turner Field earlier this month.
In his first game since the team announced his five-year, $45 million contract extension, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went 1-for-4 and scored a run. He hit a two-run homer off Kawakami in the third inning April 11 before the Braves scored five unanswered runs.
Atlanta’s last victory at Nationals Park was 10-2 on April 12, 2008.