Nats, Tigers close set in D.C.

Dan Haren looks to pitch the Washington Nationals to a fourth straight victory on Thursday afternoon when they conclude a two-game series with the Detroit Tigers a day later than scheduled.

This set was slated to get underway on Tuesday, but that contest was postponed due to rain.

After winning Wednesday's meeting 3-1, the Nationals look to win the short set behind Haren, who has put together three solid starts in a row. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in an outing since getting touched for six in a loss at the Cincinnati Reds in his Washington debut on April 5.

The right-hander won his second straight start on Thursday with a 3-1 victory in Atlanta. He logged a season-high eight innings and scattered one run, four hits and a walk.

"(Haren's) a consummate pitcher," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. "He doesn't give in to a hitter. He's got all kinds of movement on the ball, and this is a very aggressive swinging ballclub."

The 32-year-old evened his season record at 3-3 with a 5.01 earned run average and is 4-4 lifetime versus the Detroit Tigers with a 3.63 ERA.

Having been swept in three-game sets by the Tigers in the previous two meetings in 2007 and 2010, the Nationals used a Bryce Harper homer and seven strong innings from Jordan Zimmermann to claim last night's game.

Harper hit a solo homer in the fifth inning and also plated a run with a sacrifice fly in the third. He is hitting .312 on the year with 10 homers and 20 RBI.

"He has all the physical tools ... and he's only going to get better and better," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Harper.

Zimmermann became the National League's first six-game winner after shutting down a potent Tigers' lineup that racked up 37 runs during a four-game road sweep of Houston over the weekend. The right-hander yielded just one run while scattering seven hits and striking out seven.

"I tried to go as deep as I can," Zimmermann said. "I was able to go seven and keep the team in the game."

Miguel Cabrera knocked in the lone Detroit run in the loss, only the second in the Tigers' last 11 games. Anibal Sanchez struck out eight Nationals in six innings, but was reached for three runs -- two earned -- on eight hits.

The Tigers look to rebound behind Doug Fister, who is a perfect 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA and has not allowed more than three runs in any of his six starts on the year.

Detroit is 5-1 when the righty takes the mound, though Fister did not factor into a 4-3 win at Houston on Friday. He was charged with three runs -- two earned -- on a season-high nine hits with a walk in six-plus frames.

Fister, 29, has faced the Nationals once before while with Seattle and did not get a decision despite eight innings of one-run, three-hit ball back on June 21, 2011.