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Marlins vs. Nationals @ 7:05pm


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Livan Hernandez will try to help the Washington Nationals bounce back from having their five-game winning streak snapped when they conclude their two-game series with the visiting Florida Marlins.


The MVP of the 1997 World Series for the Marlins, Hernandez is 8-4 with a 2.43 ERA in 16 career starts against Florida. He did not get a decision on April 9 despite limiting the Marlins to an unearned run and five hits over seven innings the Nationals' 3-2 win.


The Marlins, who came into this short series ranked ninth in the NL with just 52 runs in their first 12 games, had another offensive surge against the Nationals in a 9-4 win Monday. Florida has outscored Washington 28-7 while winning three of the first four meetings this season.


Dontrelle Willis extended his season-opening shutout streak to 24 innings before giving up three runs in the seventh, a half-inning after Florida built a big lead by batting around. The Marlins strung together six consecutive hits off reliever Joe Horgan with two outs to increase their 4-0 edge to 9-0.


Bidding to become the first pitcher to start a year with three shutouts since Luis Tiant in 1966, Willis allowed just two hits in the first six innings en route to improving to 3-0. He was as impressive as he was in a five-hitter against Washington on April 8 and a three-hitter against Philadelphia on April 13.


``Why he dominates us, I don't know,'' Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. ``Going against a guy like Willis, you can't afford to give runs away and give him the lead.''


The Nationals, coming off a three-game sweep of Arizona in their first series in Washington, lost at home for the first time since dropping the franchise's last five games in Montreal last season.


The Expos' seven-game overall winning streak last Aug. 7-14 was their only run of the year longer than Nationals' five-game stretch.


``We didn't come out and do the little things tonight. We made a couple of mental mistakes,'' outfielder Brad Wilkerson said. ``When you give them extra outs out there, it's going to be tough to beat them.''


Stat of the Day:

Juan Encarnacion vs. Livan Hernandez (Career):

.394BA 2HR 9RBI (33AB)

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