Zimmermann facing Indians for first time, Marrero earns first start since ‘11 (update)

Jordan Zimmermann faces the Indians for the first time in his career, looking to help the Nationals even their weekend interleague series.

Zimmermann has been exceptional since his first dud of the season, a May 29 loss at Baltimore where the right-hander allowed seven runs in six innings. Over the two starts heading into tonight, he has held opponents to just two unearned runs on six hits while fanning 12 and walking three in 15 frames. He’ll be going for his 10th win today.

Former top prospect Chris Marrero is in the lineup at designated hitter, making his first start since being called up last Sunday and first in the majors since Sept. 28, 2011.

Jeff Kobernus is in left field, starting for third time in four games.

The teams have identical 33-33 records. The Nationals trail the Braves by 5 1/2 games after Atlanta’s 6-0 loss to the Giants.

For the Nats:
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
DH Chris Marrero
C Kurt Suzuki
LF Jeff Kobernus

RHP Jordan Zimmermann

For the Indians:
CF Michael Bourn
2B Jason Kipnis
1B Nick Swisher
LF Michael Brantley
C Carlos Santana
3B Mark Reynolds
DH Jason Giambi
RF Ryan Raburn
SS Mike Aviles

LHP Scott Kazmir

Update: The Nats have signed third-round pick Drew Ward to an $850,000 deal, according to Baseball America.

Ward is a third baseman who hit .507 (67-for-131) with nine homers, 39 RBIs and 57 walks in 32 games for Leedey (Okla.) High School.

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