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Marlins Hope Modest Surge Continues Against Nationals

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MIAMI (AP) - The highlight of Jordan Zimmermann's second straight All-Star season came when he pitched the first no-hitter in Washington in 83 years against Miami in the 2014 finale.

Off to rough start in 2015, the Nationals right-hander looks to get back on track while trying for another gem against the host Marlins on Friday night.

Thanks to a diving grab by former Washington left fielder Steven Souza Jr. on the final play of a 1-0 home victory Sept. 28, Zimmermann (1-2, 6.14 ERA) became the first major leaguer to toss a no-hitter in the nation's capital since the Senators' Bobby Burke in 1931.

"I thought there was no way this would ever happen," Zimmermann said after he struck out 10 and walked one.

After going 0-3 with a 4.81 ERA in his first six starts against the Marlins (5-11), Zimmermann is 7-0 with a 2.67 ERA in the last 11.

He opened this season by yielding a run in six innings of a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets, then gave up eight in 2 1-3 of a 9-4 loss at Boston on April 13. He was better five days later while allowing four runs - two earned - in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia.

Though Zimmermann made progress, he also walked four.

"I have to clean that up and I'll do better next time," he told the Nationals' official website.

Washington (7-9) concluded a 4-3 homestand by dropping two straight to St. Louis but won eight of the final nine versus Miami in 2014, including five straight at Marlins Park - four by one run.

Ryan Zimmerman is 7 for 17 with three RBIs in the last four games and is apparently dealing with plantar fasciitis.

"Been bothering him for a while," manager Matt Williams said after Thursday's 4-1 defeat. "Pretty soon we're going to have to give him a break and sit him down."

That could come Friday considering Zimmerman's 3 for 13 with a home run versus Mat Latos (0-3, 10.24), who is trying to avoid dropping his first four starts for the second time.

The right-hander, who gave up seven runs in two-thirds of an innings in his Marlins debut April 7, lasted a season-high five and yielded two in Saturday's 5-4 defeat to the Mets.

Latos is 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA in seven starts against the Nationals.

Despite going 4-6 on its initial road trip, Miami won two of the three series and the last two games versus Philadelphia.

"We had a couple rough weeks," said veteran Martin Prado, who had three hits and four RBIs in Thursday's 9-1 rout. "We were swimming against the currents. Now, we are going with the flow, not trying to be a hero."

The Marlins hope their modest surge turns into something bigger.

"(Thursday) was a great day, and now we need to focus on (Friday)," said manager Mike Redmond, who failed to receive an endorsement from owner Jeffrey Loria at the beginning of the trip.

"Just go out and try to get better each day, and I think we've done that."

Miami's Adeiny Hechavarria is 4 for 23 against Zimmermann, but is batting .462 with nine RBIs in the last 10 games after going 1 for 22 in the first six.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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