Zimmermann aims to give Nats series win over Phils

Jordan Zimmermann didn't receive much help his last time out, but has a chance to pitch the Washington Nationals to a series win over the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Nationals mustered just two runs in last Friday's 3-2 loss against the New York Mets and Zimmermann gave up all three runs in 7 2/3 innings. Zimmermann, who threw 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball in a win at Kansas City on Aug. 24, is 3-5 in his last eight decisions and 15-8 with a 3.33 earned run average in 27 starts.

Zimmermann lost to the Phillies on July 11, when he was reached for two runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-1 setback, and owns a 2-5 record to go along with a 4.37 ERA in eight career starts against them.

Washington aided Zimmermann's rotation mate, Gio Gonzalez, in Tuesday's 9-6 win over the Phillies and the left-hander gave up five runs, one of which was earned, in 5 2/3 frames. The Nats staked Gonzalez to a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Wilson Ramos's three-run homer and Corey Brown went deep.

"I was waiting for one pitch in the zone and I hit the ball hard," Ramos said. "During batting practice, I was hitting the ball (up) the middle. So, today, the first at-bat, I was trying to hit the ball up the middle and see what happens."

Denard Span had three hits and two runs scored for Washington, which has won 10 of its last 14 games and is 7 1/2 games off a wild card spot. Span is riding a career-high 16-game hitting streak. Bryce Harper, dealing with a balky hip, finished 0-for-5 and is expected to rest Wednesday with the Nats off Thursday.

The Nationals will travel to Miami for three games this weekend.

Philadelphia pulled within 7-5 in Tuesday's defeat, but couldn't complete the comeback and lost for the fifth time in eight tries. Cody Asche had three hits, including a home run, and three RBI, while Michael Martinez and Chase Utley each drove in a run.

Ethan Martin got the start for the Phillies and was tagged for five runs in 4 2/3 innings to fall to 2-4 on the season.

"Martin right from the get-go didn't establish his fastball," Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. "The bullpen came in and struggled."

The Phillies are out of the playoff chase and look to play spoiler the rest of the way. They will host Atlanta this weekend and have Roy Halladay set to take the mound Wednesday in his third start after shoulder surgery on Aug. 30.

Halladay allowed five runs in five innings of last Friday's 6-5 win against the Chicago Cubs and did not receive a decision. The veteran right-hander, who defeated Arizona on Aug. 25 with six innings of two-run ball in a 9-5 victory, hopes the recent run support continues. The Phillies scored seven total runs over his last three starts before landing on the disabled list.

Halladay is 3-4 in nine starts with a 7.94 ERA this season and has owned the Nationals in his career, going 12-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 18 games, 17 of which have been starts.

The Nats swept a three-game set at home versus the Phillies from Aug. 9-10 and is 8-7 in this series this season.