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Marlins To Take On The Nationals

MIAMI (AP) -- Although he's already reached a career high in victories and secured a spot in Washington's playoff rotation, Doug Fister is hoping to nail down one more key victory in his final regular-season start.

The right-hander will try to help the banged-up Nationals clinch home-field advantage in the NL playoffs on Friday when he takes the ball in the opener of a day-night doubleheader against the visiting Miami Marlins.

Following a 7-4 loss in the first of two Thursday, Washington (93-65) bounced back with a 3-0 home win over the New York Mets to move within one victory - or one Los Angeles Dodgers loss - of clinching the league's top seed.

Ryan Zimmerman went 1 for 4 in his return in the opener before pinch-hitting in the nightcap. He had missed two starts after feeling some discomfort Sunday in his second game since missing 55 with a hamstring injury.

"I can't really go 100 percent yet," the former All-Star said. "I'm sort of learning what I have, what I don't have, and the only way to do that is to go out and play."

Denard Span did not play after injuring his knee while making a diving catch Tuesday, but manager Matt Williams said the leadoff man will be back for one or both of Friday's contests.

After a rough start from September callup Blake Treinen in Thursday's opener, Gio Gonzalez allowed one hit with 12 strikeouts over seven innings in the second game. The rotation has shined during a 10-2 stretch with a 1.54 ERA.

Fister (15-6, 2.55 ERA) will try to continue that trend after earning a career-best 15th win last Friday. He allowed two runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 victory at Miami, improving to 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in his last three starts.

Fister, who is likely to pitch either Game 3 or 4 of the NL division series, has given up two runs or less in eight of 10 home starts. He's 7-2 with a 1.95 ERA at Nationals Park and 1-0 with a 1.84 mark in two career starts against the Marlins.

The Marlins are trying to win back-to-back games for only the second time since Sept. 9, though they're 5-10 in this season's series after getting swept at home last weekend.

Miami (76-82) scored four runs in the seventh inning to key Thursday's 6-4 home win over Philadelphia. Garrett Jones and Adeiny Hechavarria had three hits apiece, while Casey McGehee had two with three RBIs.

"It was a good way to end the season at home and leave a good taste in your mouth," McGehee said. "The future's bright."

Jarred Cosart (4-3, 2.29) has gone 4-2 with a 1.84 ERA in his last eight starts after allowing three runs and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings in Saturday's 3-2 home defeat to Washington.

The right-hander did not get a decision against the Nationals on April 29, when he gave up two runs over six innings in a 4-3 loss while with Houston.

Jayson Werth is 4 for 6 with a home run versus Cosart, but Adam LaRoche has gone hitless in six career at-bats. Werth is batting .354 with three homers against the Marlins this season, while Bryce Harper is hitting .372.

Miami's Andrew Heaney (0-3, 5.33) will make his first start since June 29 in the nightcap. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA in four starts this season, though he limited the Nationals to one hit over three innings in relief Sunday.

Washington right-hander Taylor Hill (0-0, 4.15) makes his first career start after making two appearances in late June.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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