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HOU@FLA: Hand hurls seven shutout frames for the win

The power-hitting Marlins go for a series sweep of the Nationals on Thursday behind young left-hander Brad Hand, who will return to the Majors to make his sixth career start.

Hand, who has already had two stints with the Marlins this season, was recalled from Double-A Jacksonville after Wednesday's win. In a corresponding move, right-hander Jose Ceda was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.

After dropping his first three starts as a Major Leaguer in June, Hand was sent back to the Minors, but he returned in July. He stymied the Astros in his most recent start, on July 7, holding Houston to two hits in seven shutout innings. The 21-year-old was optioned back to Double-A following the game because of the impending All-Star break so he could stay on his regular rotation.

Trying to avoid the sweep -- and snap a four-game losing streak -- for the Nationals is left-hander John Lannan. After earning his only two career wins against the Marlins in 2009, Lannan has since struggled against them, going 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in three starts.

Those struggles aside, Lannan has pitched very well this season. Since tying a season high with six runs allowed on May 21, he has posted a 2.28 ERA and .218 batting average against in his last 11 starts.

Lannan is on a two-game winning streak, with his last victory the result of a three-hit, 6 1/3-innings performance against the Dodgers.

Marlins: Bonifacio's streak at 25
• It took until the eighth inning on Wednesday, but Emilio Bonifacio extended his hitting streak to 25 games, tying him with Kevin Millar for the second longest in club history. During the streak he's hitting .385 with 26 runs scored.

Bonifacio doesn't feel any added pressure because of the streak.

"You just take the same approach to get on base," Bonifacio said. "I know I have the streak, but it's just my job to get on base."

• Outfielder Logan Morrison has driven in 25 runs this month, the second-most in club history for July. Millar drove in 26 in 1999.

• First baseman Gaby Sanchez sat for the second straight game on Wednesday with hamstring tightness. Prior to the game, manager Jack McKeon said that if the Marlins won on Wednesday he might give Sanchez another day of rest, so Sanchez is unlikely to be in the lineup on Thursday.

Nationals: Morse again in double-digits
• Michael Morse went 2-for-5 on Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he's hitting .381. This is his second double-digit hitting streak of the season, following an 11-game stretch from May 22 to June 3. In 59 games playing first base this season, Morse is hitting .353 with 20 doubles, 15 home runs, 48 RBIs and 13 walks.

• Jonny Gomes, acquired from the Reds on Tuesday, was added to the active roster on Wednesday, and first baseman Matt Stairs was designated for assignment.

Worth noting
• Florida's Omar Infante has hit safely in his last six games, batting .478 in that span.

• The Marlins have hit multiple home runs in each of their last five games, tying the club record, set from July 19-24, 2005.

• Hanley Ramirez is hitting .444 with a home run against Lannan, and Infante is hitting .455. Comments