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Nationals hand Jackson ball versus Cubs

After clinching their first winning season in nine years, the Washington Nationals turn to Edwin Jackson on Tuesday as they continue a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Nationals opened up this set on Monday afternoon with a 2-1 victory, giving them 82 wins on the season. That is the most in a single campaign for the club since relocating from Montreal prior to the 2005 season and clinched the franchise's first winning season since the 2003 squad went 83-79.

Ross Detwiler outdueled Jeff Samardzija to earn the series-opening win. He allowed four hits and three walks over seven scoreless innings, while Samardzija yielded seven hits. However, one of those was a homer to Adam LaRoche in the second inning.

"He missed his spot with me and I put the bat on it," LaRoche said following Washington's fifth victory in six games.

Ryan Zimmerman added a run-scoring double in the eighth, which proved to be the winning RBI after the Cubs plated a run in the top of the ninth on Welington Castillo's base hit.

Tyler Clippard, though, rebounded to strike out Josh Vitters and earn his 30th save of the season, one that kept the Nats 6 1/2 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East.

Jackson will try to further that advantage tonight after halting a two-start slide last time out on Thursday.

Facing his former St. Louis Cardinals club, Jackson was touched for just one unearned run over eight innings, working around four hits and two walks while striking out 10. The right-hander has fanned 29 over his last three outings and is 8-9 with a 3.53 earned run average in 25 starts this season.

Jackson, 28, is 2-3 with a 5.23 ERA in seven lifetime encounters with the Cubs.

Chicago opened up a 10-game road trip with its 14th loss in the past 15 as the guest and has lost three in a row and six of its last eight overall.

The Cubs, who lost two of three at home to the Nationals back on April 5-8, are looking towards 2013 and will give left-hander Chris Rusin the second start of his career tonight.

Rusin made his MLB debut back on Aug. 21 and took a tough-luck loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was charged with a run on one hit and two walks over five innings of a 5-2 setback.

"I felt good, but I couldn't get my secondary stuff over and that put me in a hole," Rusin admitted. "It was a good opportunity for me. I was nervous in the first inning, but I was able to get over it."

The 24-year-old retired the first nine Brewers he faced, but hit two batters around a walk in the fourth to load the bases before yielding an RBI single.

He'll try to work on his control tonight after going 8-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 26 total minor league starts this season, walking 53 and striking out 95 over 143 1/3 innings.