Miami phenom Jose Fernandez gets his second career look at the Washington Nationals when they visit the Marlins on Friday to begin a three-game series at Marlins Park.
The 21-year-old faced the Nationals for the only time just days before his last birthday and got a no-decision after six innings of four-hit, one-run ball that ultimately led to a 2-1 Miami victory.
He won his next five decisions in seven subsequent starts, allowing two runs or less in each outing while paring his earned run average from a stingy 2.75 to a glittering 2.30.
The number ticked only slightly upward as a result of his last outing, which yielded a tough luck loss at Atlanta on Aug. 30, when he dropped a 2-1 verdict after giving up two runs on three hits in six innings.
He is a perfect 7-0 in 13 home starts this year while allowing just 12 earned runs in 84 innings.
He's opposed by veteran Dan Haren, who'd won four decisions and picked up a first career save before dropping his last start on Aug. 31.
Haren had upped his record to 8-11 in the positive stretch between July 27 and Aug. 20, before giving up four runs in a no-decision at Kansas City and being raked for seven runs on nine hits in just 2 2/3 innings of an 11-3 loss to the New York Mets.
Haren faced Fernandez in the aforementioned July 13 game and was also stellar while surrendering three hits in six scoreless innings of Miami's 2-1 win.
He is 1-4 in seven career starts against the Marlins.
On Wednesday in Philadelphia, Steve Lombardozzi drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the Nationals edged the Phillies 3-2 in the finale of a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park.
Wilson Ramos worked a leadoff walk off Jake Diekman and was replaced by Jeff Kobernus on the bases. Kobernus moved to second on Scott Hairston's sacrifice bunt before stealing third.
Lombardozzi then ripped a chopper to second and Chase Utley fired home, but Kobernus slid across the plate safely to tally to the go-ahead run.
In Chicago, Donnie Murphy hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning, one of four Cubs home runs in a 9-7 win over the Marlins.
Six home runs were hit in the game. Adeiny Hechavarria belted a grand slam for the Marlins and Logan Morrison added a two-run homer, but Miami's three-game winning streak came to an end.
Murphy sent reliever Ryan Webb's first pitch into the left field stands for his go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh, capping a four-run rally and giving the Cubs an 8-7 lead.
Washington entered the weekend with a subpar 70-96 record in past trips to Miami, where it lost two of three in mid-July. The Nationals, however, swept a three-game series when the teams played in Washington in late August