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MIA@WSH: Nolasco blanks Nats in complete-game gem

Neither the Marlins nor the Mets expected to be fighting to avoid last place in the National League East when they kicked off promising seasons back in April. While expectations have fallen short for both teams, each is looking to finish the year on a high note.

For the Marlins, that starts with righty Ricky Nolasco in Sunday's series finale at Citi Field. Nolasco, much like the rest of the Marlins, has had his ups and downs this season, but the franchise's career wins leader has come on strong down the final stretch.

Nolasco is 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last four starts, which include two complete-game shutouts. He wasn't as sharp during his last outing, pitching five innings and giving up three runs on 10 hits against the Reds while not factoring into the decision.

"Obviously, not my best day," Nolasco said. "I'm not going to walk anybody. I got singled to death. A lot of ground balls that just found the holes. That's part of the game."

As the Mets go for the three-game series sweep they will turn to righty Chris Young, whose most recent win came against the Marlins on Sept. 2, when he pitched five innings of one-run ball.

In his first season back from shoulder surgery, Young has pitched consistently for the Mets. Since returning to the rotation in June, the righty has made 18 starts without missing any due to injury.

"It was my goal," Young said after his last outing. "I didn't want to come back to get hurt. I worked hard to be where I am. I haven't had a day off. From the time I had the surgery, I've worked hard to be out here. I didn't come back thinking I wouldn't make starts.

"I've taken care of myself, I've worked hard, and I feel like I'm going to continue to get stronger."

Marlins: Ruggiano, Kearns sidelined
• Justin Ruggiano (right shoulder) and Austin Kearns (back) were not available Saturday, and they remain doubtful for Sunday's series finale, leaving the Marlins thin in the outfield. The team is off on Monday, so the two could be given off until Tuesday at Atlanta at the earliest.

Ruggiano, who injured the shoulder Friday, said he wasn't expecting to have an MRI but added that it would probably be 24-48 hours before he resumed baseball activities.

• After toying with a six-man rotation, the Marlins have opted to go back to a traditional five-man rotation for the last stretch of the season. Lefty Wade LeBlanc moved back to the bullpen, with the other pitchers all being pushed up a day.

Mets: Tejada continues to impress
• While the Mets' season hasn't panned out as many had hoped, shortstop Ruben Tejada has been a pleasant surprise in his first full season after taking over for Jose Reyes, now with the Marlins. Entering Sunday, Tejada is hitting .288.

Collins said Tejada will spend the offseason working on his first-step quickness and upper-body strength in hopes that the shortstop could add some more power to his game.

Worth noting
• Nolasco is 5-8 with a 5.28 ERA in 23 career appearances (21 starts) against the Mets.

• Mets third baseman David Wright is just four hits shy of tying Ed Kranepool's all-time franchise hits record of 1,418. Comments