WASHINGTON (AP) _ Jason Simontacchi got his first win in nearly four years, Cristian Guzman got his first RBIs since September 2005, and the Washington Nationals got their first sweep of the season.
Backed by Guzman's 2-run triple in a 5-run 2nd inning, Simontacchi kept hitters off balance for most of his 5 1-3 innings Sunday in the Nationals' 6-4 victory over the Florida Marlins.
The Nationals (12-25) took three straight from the Marlins after losing eight in a row at the end of their last road trip. Washington's biggest accomplishment over the weekend might have been moving ahead of the Kansas City Royals, who now have the worst record in baseball.
The Marlins, swept for the third time this season, have lost seven of nine.
The Nationals were initially happy just to win a series for the first time this year, and manager Manny Acta said the chance for a sweep was a bonus. It certainly was an eventful three games: Shawn Hill had a no-hitter on Friday before having to leave with a sore elbow, Ryan Zimmerman ended a rain-interrupted Game 2 with a 9th-inning grand slam at 1:42 a.m., and on Sunday the Nationals finally mastered the most unlikely of nemeses, Marlins starter Wes Obermueller.
Obermueller (1-2) has only two major league victories since 2004, and both were gems against the Nationals. He entered the game 3-0 lifetime with a 2.25 ERA against the Expos-Nationals franchise and 7-20 against everyone else.
This time, the Nationals battered him for 5 runs in the 2nd inning, although 4 were unearned. Obermueller allowed a run on 3 consecutive 1-out singles before walking Ryan Langerhans _ who was batting .125 _ to load the bases.
Simontacchi reached on error when he hit a chopper that 3rd baseman Miguel Cabrera charged but couldn't handle. Two batters later, Guzman lined a triple that got past diving right fielder Joe Borchard. Guzman, who missed last season because of shoulder surgery, had not produced an RBI since 2005.
With the Marlins having used six pitchers in Saturday night's marathon, Obermueller was left in the game and allowed only 1 more hit before leaving for pinch hitter after 5 innings.
Simontacchi (1-1) had not won since a 2-inning stint as a reliever for St. Louis against Houston on Sept. 20, 2003. He was out of the majors in 2005 and 2006 while recovering from shoulder surgery, and his 2007 debut for the Nationals was delayed until last week because of a strained groin in spring training.
Simontacchi was solid through 5 innings, and his off-speed pitch fooled both Mike Jacobs and Borchard into watching strike 3. Simontacchi wilted in the 6th, when Dan Uggla opened with a fly ball double that left fielder Ryan Church lost in the sun. After a walk, 3 singles and a sacrifice fly, Simontacchi was replaced by Jesus Colome, who would have finished the inning without further damage if 1st baseman Robert Fick hadn't dropped an easy foul pop hit by pinch-hitter Aaron Boone.
Boone used the reprieve to hit an RBI single that made the score 5-4.
The Nationals regained a 2-run cushion on Jesus Flores' RBI single in the bottom of the 6th. Jon Rauch pitched the 9th for his first save.