(Sports Network) - The Washington Nationals aim for a second straight unlikely pitching effort when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight in the middle game of a three-game series at Nationals Park.
The hosts won the initial game of the series, 4-2, on Friday when lefty John Lannan outdueled well-publicized Arizona trade-deadline acquisition Joe Saunders to help Washington end a five-game losing skid.
Ryan Zimmerman drove in two runs and Lannan (4-5) was solid in seven innings on the mound, giving up two runs on four hits for the Nationals. He also struck out five and walked one.
Right-hander Jason Marquis gets the call in game two for the Nationals in just his fifth start of the season, and second since undergoing surgery to have bone chips removed from his elbow.
The 2009 All-Star signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Washington prior to this season and was an ugly 0-3 with an even-uglier 20.52 earned run average before going on the disabled list with elbow trouble.
He picked up his fourth loss in his initial start back from injury, allowing five hits and two earned runs in four innings in an 8-3 defeat to the Dodgers Sunday in Los Angeles.
Marquis is 2-6 with a 4.12 ERA in 12 career games against Arizona.
For the Diamondbacks, right-hander Ian Kennedy makes his second start against the Nationals - both in his career and in the last 10 days. The 25-year-old dropped a 7-2 verdict to Washington on Aug. 4 in Phoenix after allowing eight hits and four runs in four innings.
He'd won three of four starts heading into that loss after opening the season with just three wins in his first 10 decisions.
The former first-round draft pick of the New York Yankees (21st overall, 2006) is 3-5 with a 5.05 ERA in 12 road starts this season. His last road win was July 30 at Citi Field against the New York Mets.
These two clubs split a four-game set in Arizona from Aug. 2-5. The Nationals have won eight of the last 11 overall meetings between the teams.