Padres-Nationals preview

WASHINGTON -- Nationals Park is very familiar to San Diego's Edwin Jackson, who is slated to start here on Saturday against the Washington Nationals.

The veteran right-hander has perhaps discovered the fountain of youth as he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his start on Sunday against the San Francisco Giants. It was his first appearance with the Padres this season after he was signed by the team last month.

"I was able to mix it up," Jackson said Friday, standing in the San Diego clubhouse. "I didn't feel like I came out of the gates with my best stuff. I was able to get out of jams by keeping the ball down. Anytime I can get some groundballs it is good for me."

Jackson, who had a 5.91 ERA in eight games with the Miami Marlins earlier this year, pitched for the Nationals in 2012 and has a 3.26 ERA in 20 games at Nationals Park in his career.

"It is always fun to come back, especially after that run we had in 2012" with a division title, he said.

He was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 31 starts in his one season in Washington.

"I don't know if I have an advantage or disadvantage," Jackson said of facing his former team. "At the end of the day it is about execution. I know them, they know me. It is about getting the job done."

One of the new faces with the Nationals is infielder Daniel Murphy, who signed with the team as a free agent after playing last season with the New York Mets.

Murphy is hitting .250 with a homer in 20 at-bats against Jackson. Another Washington player with a track record against Jackson is reserve outfielder Chris Heisey, who is hitting .091 in 11 at-bats.

Jackson will be opposed by Washington right-hander Max Scherzer, who has a 1.61 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 13 walks in 61 1/3 innings in his last nine starts.

He has held San Diego outfielder Matt Kemp to an average of .091 in 11 at-bats, though Kemp had two homers in a 5-3 win Friday.

Scherzer may want to be careful with San Diego All-Star first baseman Wil Myers, who has two homers and four hits in six at-bats against Scherzer.

Myers was not in the starting lineup Friday but first-year San Diego manager Andy Green said he planned to have Myers start against Scherzer.

Alexei Ramirez has 42 at-bats in his career against Scherzer but an average of .143.

When the teams met in San Diego last month Scherzer did figure in the decision in a 7-3 loss June 18 to the Padres. Scherzer went six innings in that game and allowed one run.

In his last start on Sunday, Scherzer allowed one run and did not figure in the decision as the Nationals lost 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 18 innings. "I am not going to beat myself up," Scherzer said after that game.

The Nationals won the first two games in San Diego last month then lost the next two to begin a seven-game slide.

"They started us on our downhill, seven-game losing streak," Washington manager Dusty Baker said. "They are a scrappy team. That is what I remember. Was it them or was it us?"

Besides Jackson the Padres have two other pitchers with ties to the Nationals and another with a tie to the region.

Lefty reliever Matt Thornton pitched for Washington last year and lefty Ryan Buchter was drafted in the 33rd round in 2005 by the Nationals. San Diego right-hander Paul Clemens graduated from Robinson High in Fairfax, Virginia, about 25 miles from the nation's capital.