video thumbnail

STL@WSH: Jackson fans 10 over eight fantastic frames

After an extra-inning loss at the hands of the Marlins on Friday night, the Nationals got one back on Saturday with a walk-off win in the 10th inning. On Sunday, the two teams will battle in a rubber match.

And if there's any indication to how steady the Nationals have remained over this banner season, it's their ability to avoid being swept -- particularly at home.

With the comeback win Saturday, they avoided the possibility for what would have been their first home sweep since mid-June, a streak that has held intact for almost three months. Instead, they have a chance at winning yet another series at Nationals Park.

With the victory Saturday, the first-place Nationals also took a 9-8 season series lead on their division rivals heading into Sunday's season series finale.

Miami right-hander Ricky Nolasco gets a shot Sunday at sealing the series victory for the Marlins, as he looks to improve his season mark to 12-12. Nolasco has improved his fastball command lately, stringing together two strong starts.

He has allowed one earned run (three total) in his last 16 innings, and he threw a shutout on Aug. 28 against the Nationals.

"I was able to pitch inside to a lot of guys, and that was the equalizer -- just being able to throw inside for strikes," Nolasco said after that game.

He'll be up against strikeout machine Edwin Jackson, who has fanned at least eight hitters in each of his last four starts. He's averaged 9.25 strikeouts per game in his last four outings, including a victory against the Cubs his last time out.

"I just have to do a better job in the late innings with two outs and be more aggressive," Jackson said of his other areas for improvement.

Nationals: One more winning month?
• Washington is 6-2 in September and remains the Major Leagues' only team to have played winning baseball in every month this season.

The Nationals went 19-10 in August, 17-9 in July, 15-10 in June, 15-13 in May and 14-8 in April.

• September callup Christian Garcia threw a scoreless inning on Saturday, striking out two. In three games with the Nats this season, he has tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out three.

Marlins: Friendly confines
• No Marlin has enjoyed traveling to Nationals Park more than slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who has 10 home runs and 19 RBIs in 19 career games in Washington. That makes for his highest homer and RBI totals for any park outside of Miami (six homers at Coors Field, 14 RBIs at Citi Field).

He is a .381 (29-for-76) career hitter in Washington, having hit safely in eight of his last nine games there.

• The Marlins are 10-4 in extra-inning ballgames this season, with the 10 victories setting a new franchise record.

Shortstop Jose Reyes is 5-for-9 in extra innings -- with a single, double, two triples and a home run -- to become the first Major Leaguer with a season extra-innings cycle with multiple triples since Ryne Sandbery in 1984.

Worth noting
• Jackson is 1-5 with a 6.00 ERA in his career against the Marlins.

• Regardless of the outcome Sunday, the Marlins will finish 2012 with a sub-.500 mark (they're 2-6 entering Sunday) at Nationals Park for just the second time since the Nationals moved to Washington in 2005 (the Marlins were 2-7 in D.C. in '07). Comments