Strasburg leads Nats against visiting Marlins

Second-year standout Stephen Strasburg makes the third surgery comeback tonight when the Washington Nationals host game series at Nationals Park.

Strasburg was the rookie phenom of the season last year, going 5-3 in 12 starts with 92 strikeouts in just 68 innings before an elbow injury forced him to undergo ligament replacement surgery.

He returned to the majors on Sept. 6 and held Los Angeles scoreless in five two-hit innings, then returned five days later and allowed a run on three hits in three innings of Washington's 8-2 win against Houston.

In 76 big-league innings over the two seasons, Strasburg has allowed 61 hits and 23 earned runs, while striking out 100.

He's walked none in eight innings in 2011 and just 17 overall.

Florida got a pitching gem from veteran Javier Vazquez, who tossed his first shutout since 2005 to help the Marlins beat the Nationals, 3-0, in the series opener.

Vazquez (11-11) gave up just five hits, struck out seven and walked none to record his fourth straight victory.

The Marlins hurler had the highest earned run average (6.85) among qualifying starters over his first 14 starts. In 16 starts since, he's 8-4 with a 1.96 ERA.

He's surrendered just one earned run in his last 29 innings pitched.

Washington starter John Lannan (9-13) suffered the loss for the sixth time in his last seven outings. He allowed three runs in six innings, surrendering eight hits while walking three and striking out one.

Tonight, the Marlins start 6-foot-8 righty Chris Volstad, who's not won since July 10.

The former first-round draft pick - 16th overall, 2005 - was 5-8 on the season after a 5-4 defeat of the Houston Astros, but is 0-4 in eight starts since.

He took a no-decision after five innings of two-run ball in his last outing on Sept. 12 in Atlanta, where he gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out four in the Marlins' 5-4 win.

Volstad is 5-2 in 12 career starts against Washington with a 5.32 ERA. Florida is 8-4 versus the Nats this season.