Nationals hand Strasburg ball versus Marlins

( - Stephen Strasburg will try to pitch the Washington Nationals to a fourth victory in a row on Tuesday night in the middle contest of a three-game series with the Miami Marlins.

Strasburg himself is looking to get his season on track for the Nationals and comes into tonight's start 2-2 with a 4.60 earned run average through five starts, though just one of those was a quality outing.

Strasburg struggled through his first two starts before scattering a run and striking out seven over 7 1/3 innings to beat Philadelphia on April 19, but took a loss in Miami six days later as he was touched for four runs over six frames with six strikeouts.

The 26-year-old right-hander came back to beat the New York Mets on Thursday, but lasted just 5 1/3 innings. He did, however, scatter a pair of runs and six hits with another seven strikeouts.

In 20 career starts versus Miami, Strasburg is 9-6 with a 3.58 ERA.

Despite suffering a strained left hamstring in his most recent start, right- hander Mat Latos is set to take the mound tonight for the Marlins still in search of his first victory.

Latos' injury forced him out of Wednesday's start against the New York Mets after five innings of work in which he yielded three runs on three hits and two walks. Miami did take a 7-3 win and has won both of Latos' recent starts despite the 27-year-old getting a no-decision in both.

The Marlins appeared to have dodged a blow to their rotation as Latos went through a bullpen session on Saturday with no issue.

"He threw and it went well," manager Mike Redmond told his team's website on Sunday. "That's good for us."

After losing his first three starts in a Miami uniform, giving up 11 runs over 9 2/3 innings, Latos held Washington to a pair of runs over 6 1/3 frames on April 24. He is 3-2 in eight starts against the Nationals with a 2.68 ERA.

Washington used a four-run eighth inning in Monday's opener to rally for a 6-4 victory. Yunel Escobar highlighted his 5-for-5 night at the plate with a two- run single in the frame, which also featured a two-run homer by Ian Desmond.

"We're swinging the bat well," said Washington's Ryan Zimmerman. "We got the win, and hopefully we get another one tomorrow."

While the Nationals won for the sixth time in seven games, the Marlins have followed up a four-game win streak with back-to-back losses.

Jeff Baker and Ichiro Suzuki drove in a run each in the top of the eighth inning for the Marlins before the bullpen gave the lead back to the Nats in the bottom of the frame.

"It was a tough night, no doubt," said Redmond. "Can't go on the road and cough up leads."

The Marlins outscored the Nationals 17-4 in sweeping a three-game set in Miami from April 24-26, but lost six of nine last season in Washington.