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The last time the home team won a July 4 game in the nation's capital, Lyndon Johnson was president and current Washington manager Frank Robinson was a major league outfielder. The Nationals get a chance to change that on Tuesday. Washington seeks its fourth straight win Tuesday when it continues its four-game set with the Florida Marlins at RFK Stadium. A Washington club has not won at home on Independence Day since July 4, 1968, when the Senators defeated the New York Yankees 4-2. In their first July 4 game since moving from Montreal, the Nationals lost to the New York Mets last year, 5-2 at home. John Patterson (1-2, 4.41 ERA) allowed two runs in six innings but did not receive a decision in that contest, and he takes the mound again for Washington (36-48] on Tuesday. Patterson allowed five runs and six hits in three innings of last Thursday's 8-4 loss at Toronto before leaving the game with a tired arm, but expects to make his regularly scheduled start. ''I just feels like spring training dead arm,'' said Patterson, who was making his second start since spending 62 days on the disabled list with a right forearm strain. ''I took two months off. It's just where I'm at.'' The right-hander earned his only win of the season at Florida on April 15, limiting the Marlins (35-44) to one run and three hits in eight innings of Washington's 2-1 victory. He is 2-4 with a 3.73 ERA in eight career starts versus the Marlins. After sitting out his first game of the season on Sunday, Alfonso Soriano snapped out of a 2-for-33 slump with two home runs and four RBIs Monday night as the Nationals cruised to their third consecutive win, 9-1 over the Marlins. Soriano, elected an NL All-Star starter in his first season as an outfielder, is batting .357 with 18 homers and 40 RBIs in Washington's wins, and just .202 with eight homers and 15 RBIs in its losses. ''It just seems like it just goes down through the lineup whenever he has a good night,'' Robinson said.Jose Guillen added a three-run homer for the Nationals on Monday, and second baseman Jose Vidro went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Vidro is a .462 (12-for-26) career hitter on July 4, the highest batting average for any active NL player with at least 20 at-bats on the holiday. The Marlins send Scott Olsen (6-4, 4.26) to the hill as they seek to avoid their first four-game losing streak since dropping seven in a row from May 15-21. Olsen saw his personal four-game winning streak snapped in last Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay despite allowing just two runs - both unearned - and four hits in six innings. The 22-year-old left-hander gave up both runs in the first inning. ''I thought I was good tonight,'' said Olsen, who has received just three runs of support in his four losses. ''I didn't have very good control of my slider so I had to rely on my change-up to bail me out. We were down two before we had a chance to bat. I wanted to hold them right there.'' Olsen made his season debut against the Nationals on April 15 at Dolphins Stadium, allowing two runs - one earned - four hits and six walks in 5 1-3 innings in losing to Patterson.
Come on Alfonso. We really need some runs here!
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