Despite being without one of their best hitters, the Washington Nationals turned in an impressive offensive performance a day after being shut down by the Miami Marlins.
Stephen Strasburg looks to follow that with a dominant showing of his own Sunday in Miami, though the Marlins have recently proven to be a pesky adversary for the right-hander.
The Nationals were held to three runs and eight hits in their previous two games - including two hits in a 7-0 loss to Miami on Friday - but Ryan Zimmerman led the way with two home runs in Washington's 9-2 victory Saturday. The Nationals totaled 16 hits despite being without Bryce Harper, who was scratched following batting practice due to inflammation in his hip.
"He's going to go to see the doctor tomorrow, figure out what it is, treat it, and he'll meet us in New York, hopefully," manager Davey Johnson said, referring to his team's four-game series with the Mets beginning Monday.
Jayson Werth was 3 for 5 and Denard Span - back in the lineup after being scratched Friday due to groin tightness - was 2 for 4 to extend his career-long hitting streak to 18 games. Span is hitting .411 with 12 runs during the run.
Washington (72-69) continues to cling to slim chances of achieving a wild-card berth, trailing Cincinnati by eight games.
The Nationals can win for the 13th time in 18 games Sunday, but Strasburg (6-9, 2.85 ERA) hasn't exactly been at his best versus Miami. His 5.73 ERA in three starts this year is his highest against any team he's faced multiple times. He's also 1-2 in his last five with an 8.05 ERA after posting a 4-1 mark and 1.56 ERA through his first seven career starts against the Marlins.
Giancarlo Stanton is 7 for 18 off Strasburg with two homers and four doubles.
Strasburg has pitched without much offense behind him recently, getting credited with one win in his last nine starts despite a 2.59 ERA. He received a total of 21 runs of support in those games while striking out 65 over 55 2-3 innings.
He gave up an unearned run and two hits over six innings of a 3-2 loss at Philadelphia on Monday. The outing was cut short as he experienced difficulties gripping the ball.
"I was sweating a lot out there," he said. "It affected me not being able to pitch more innings. Strange circumstances but I have to be able to deal with it. It was tough gripping the ball like I usually do."
Miami starter Jacob Turner (3-5, 3.13) became the first pitcher to commit three errors in a game in nearly eight years in a 5-4 loss at Atlanta on Aug. 31. The right-hander was charged with three runs - two earned - four hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings.
Turner went 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts versus Washington last year.
Marlins rookie Christian Yelich is batting .455 during an eight-game hitting streak after going 2 for 4 on Saturday.