Zimmermann eyes back-to-back wins in San Diego

( - Jordan Zimmermann tries to string back-to-back wins together for the first time this season on Sunday when the Washington Nationals play the rubber match of a three-game series versus the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

A 19-game winner a year ago, Zimmermann had his best outing of this season on Tuesday against Philadelphia, as he scattered five hits over eight scoreless innings to run his record to 4-2 to go along with a 3.59 ERA.

"I was hitting my location," Zimmermann said. "When I wanted to throw a ball, I was throwing a ball and not leaving it over the middle (of the plate). We had a really good game plan. (Catcher Wilson Ramos) and I were on the same page. It was one of those nights where it was fun to be out there. I had everything working."

Zimmermann has faced the Padres six times and is 1-2 against them with a 2.35 ERA.

San Diego, meanwhile, will counter with righty Eric Stults, who is 2-6 with a 5.03 ERA. Stults lost his third straight decision last Sunday in Chicago, as the White Sox reached him for four runs and five hits in six innings. He allowed two home runs in that one and has now served 12 this season after giving up 18 in over 200 innings a year ago.

"My overall stuff today was one of the best it's been this year, I was down in the zone for the most part," he said.

Stults is 1-0 in two starts versus the Nats with a 2.03 ERA.

San Diego evened this series at a game apiece with a thrilling win on Saturday, as Yonder Alonso tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-out home run, and Cameron Maybin won it in the home 11th on a two-out RBI single, as the Padres eked out a 4-3 victory.

Craig Stammen (0-2) tossed a scoreless 10th inning, and retired the first two batters in the 11th. Chase Headley kept his team alive with a single, then Alonso worked a walk ahead of Maybin's single to right which brought in Headley.

Joaquin Benoit (2-0) turned in a scoreless top of the 11th to snag the win for the Padres, who recovered from a 6-0 loss in Friday's opener. Headley ended up with two hits and scored twice, while Maybin drove in a pair of runs.

Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer and Ryan Zimmerman knocked in the other run for the Nationals, whose four-game win streak came to an end.

Washington split a four-game set with the Padres in D.C. earlier this season.