Nats eye series win versus Marlins

The Washington Nationals seemed to live up to the hype in their first game of the season on Monday. Now they focus on winning a series, as they play the middle test of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park.

Bryce Harper homered in his first two at-bats and Stephen Strasburg scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings to lead Washington to a 2-0 win on Opening Day.

"They're learning as they go, but they're awful good. It's fun watching them," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson.

Strasburg (1-0) needed only 80 pitches to complete his outing, while Tyler Clippard tossed a scoreless eighth and Rafael Soriano followed suit in the ninth to record his first save for the Nats.

Ricky Nolasco (0-1) worked six innings in the loss, yielding only two runs and three hits while striking out five and issuing two walks for the Marlins, who won't have it any easier on Wednesday against lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Gonzalez fell two-thirds of an inning shy of the 200-inning plateau, but finished with a 2.89 ERA and led the majors with 21 wins. He also recorded a career-best 207 strikeouts.

Miami will counter with righty Kevin Slowey, who was limited by injury to 49 innings in the minors last season. Ideally Slowey would have been the team's fifth starter, but injuries to Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez elevated him.

"To have two starters (out) makes it tough," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "That���s why we had to do what we had to do."

Oddly enough Redmond was behind the plate for Slowey's big league debut in 2007 with the Minnesota Twins.

The Marlins and Nationals split 18 head-to-head games last year.