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FLA@WSH: Nix sends a solo homer to right field

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had his second consecutive subpar outing, and it proved costly as the Nationals were pounded by the Marlins, 11-2, at Nationals Park on Tuesday night.

Zimmermann, who allowed six runs in 6 2/3 innings, found himself in trouble early. With one out in the first inning, Omar Infante tripled and then scored on a groundout by Greg Dobbs.

Two innings later, the Marlins added three more runs. Logan Morrison had the biggest blow with a two-run homer.

Florida scored its fifth run of the game two innings later, when Dobbs hit a homer over the right-field wall.

Manager Davey Johnson felt Zimmermann has had too much rest between starts. In his first game after the All-Star break, Zimmermann pitched on nine days' rest against the Astros and lost, 7-6. On Tuesday, he pitched on six days' rest.

Johnson feels the young pitcher will get better once he gets on the mound on regular rest.

"He is a great young pitcher," Johnson said. "I just hate to see him leave the balls up and struggling."

Zimmermann didn't make any excuses for his recent outing. He simply felt that he made bad pitches.

"It's one of those games where I need to put it behind me and turn the page," Zimmermann said. "The last two innings, I really picked up the tempo. I felt a lot better. I just feel I have to pick up the tempo from the start and do a lot better."

Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, on the other hand, was untouchable until the fifth inning, when Laynce Nix hit a leadoff homer for Washington's first hit of the game.

The Nationals would score their last run an inning later, when Ryan Zimmerman scored on a double by Michael Morse.

After the game, Johnson seemed more concerned about his offense than anything else. He is seriously thinking about making changes to the lineup. For the season, the Nationals are hitting .234 as a team.

Johnson also took notice that his team looks timid at the plate. The players are striking out too much.

"I know we are a better ballclub than we have showed at times," Johnson said. "We are striking out more than we should, and we take a lot of called third strikes. I would like for us to go down hacking. I look at all the hitters in the lineup. They have a lot of potential to do a lot better than what they are doing.

"Sitting from afar, I felt we were trying to do too much. But now that I'm right here on top of it, it appears to me that maybe we are being a little cautious and not coming out swinging. That's something I'll be addressing. We played a lot of close ballgames, but we haven't done anything offensively that we are capable of doing. I think we swing the bats well in BP and I like our approach, but we are not getting it done in the game."

The Marlins made the game unreachable when they added five runs in the ninth off Henry Rodriguez. It was Dobbs who created the spark. After John Buck hit a home run, Dobbs came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a two-run single, giving him a career-high five RBIs. Dobbs later scored on a single by Mike Cameron.

"We stress as a team [about] having productive at-bats, and if you're going to make outs, have productive outs, too," Dobbs said. "Just play with the middle of the field and drive runs in or get runs in. We'd exchange an out for a run any day, I think. At least, I would."

The Nationals now find themselves in sole possession of fifth place in the National League East with a 49-53 record. Comments