- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 9, 2011

JUPITER, Fla. | Now that Jason Marquis is healthy again, his statistics look a lot better, too.

Marquis pitched four scoreless innings Wednesday to help the Washington Nationals beat the Florida Marlins 8-4.

Marquis gave up two hits and one walk while striking out three, getting the win. The right-hander, who went 2-9 during an injury-plagued 2010, has yet to allow a run in seven spring training innings.

“It’s not really the results I’m happy about,” he said. “Obviously I’ll take it. But I’m making my pitches — down in the zone with good arm speed and action. That’s what you’re looking for.”

An All-Star with Colorado in 2009, Marquis signed a $15 million, two-year contract with the Nationals. But an elbow injury limited him to 13 starts last year, and he had an ERA of 6.60.

He has been much more efficient in spring training, averaging only 10 pitches per inning.

“If I could bring that to each outing, that’s what you’re looking for,” he said. “I’m just trying to build on each start and focus on my strength, which is to pound the strike zone early with my sinker and go from there.”

Danny Espinosa homered and drove in four runs for Washington, hiking his average to .455. Michael Morse had two hits to improve his average to .435 for the Nationals, who had 11 hits and are batting .304.

Javier Vazquez pitched the first four innings, allowed one run and was the loser. The Marlins newcomer said he was mindful he’ll likely face the NL East rival Nationals several times during the regular season.

“I want to get them out, but I don’t want to show them everything,” Vazquez said. “On some occasions I’m thinking that during the season, maybe I want to throw a different pitch there, so I don’t do that.”

Marquis said he and Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez were also thinking about the regular-season meetings between teams.

“I’m working on things and getting a feel for what their hitters want to do,” he said. “Pudge is getting a feel for the hitters and seeing what they’re doing in the box. We’ll stick it in the back of our minds, and hopefully we can pull out our bag of tricks if we need it.”


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