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STL@WSH: Jackson fans 10 over eight fantastic frames

A glance at the Nationals' last week -- and their first game against the Cubs in this series -- gives Chicago plenty of evidence of what makes one of the National League's top teams so tough.

And Chicago will get another crack at them on Tuesday, hoping to avoid becoming yet another club to fall victim in a series against Washington in this banner year.

The Nationals have shown lately they can beat just about anybody from the plate or from the mound, averaging 7.8 runs per game over a five-game stretch before sneaking by the Cubs, 2-1, in the series opener Monday.

The top pitching staff in the NL will turn to Edwin Jackson on Tuesday, while the Cubs will send lefty Chris Rusin out to the mound for his second big league start.

Rusin made his Major League debut on Aug. 21 against Milwaukee, allowing just one run and two walks over five frames in a loss.

"[Rusin] really kind of mystified us a little bit," the Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy said after that outing. "I guess when you've got a really good changeup like that, you're able to keep a lot of guys off-balance. He would drop a changeup on you that was painted, a borderline [strike], and would get you to roll it over."

Rusin was 8-9 with a 4.55 ERA over 25 starts this year with Triple-A Iowa. He'll be tasked with slowing the Nationals' lineup and Jackson, who was lights-out in his last start.

Against his former club and defending World Series champion Cardinals, Jackson gave up just one unearned run in eight innings of four-hit ball while striking out 10.

"That was a gem," manager Davey Johnson said. "The Cardinals are a good-hitting ballclub. [Jackson] had electric stuff. I know he would have liked to have finished [the game]. I tried to give him that chance, but he threw too many pitches. It was a great effort."

Jackson has 139 strikeouts this year, 29 coming over his last three starts.

Cubs: Barney playing mistake-free
Darwin Barney has gone a National League single-season record 119 consecutive games without recording an error at second base, surpassing David Eckstein's mark of 113 set with San Diego in 2010.

The Major League single-season-record errorless streak by a second baseman is held by Placido Polanco, who went 141 games without a miscue in 2007 with the Tigers.

• Carlos Marmol has successfully converted his last 16 save opportunities dating back to May 2, pitching to a 0.59 ERA (one earned run in 15 1/3 innings) in that span.

Nationals: Putting runs on the board
Over its last six games (5-1), the Nationals have averaged 6.8 runs per game.

In that same stretch, the Nats have hit .330 (71-for-215) with six doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 14 walks. The club is also hitting .383 (18-for-47) with runners in scoring position over that stretch.

• The Nationals, 2-1 to start the month, are the only team in baseball to own a winning record in each month of the season.

Worth noting
• The Nationals are 7-1 in their last eight one-run games.

• The Cubs are on a 10-day, 10-game, three-city road trip that includes series against two contenders (the Nationals and Pirates) before a stop in Houston to take on the Astros. Comments