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Marlins hope for more production from prospects in series finale

Sep 25, 2008 - 10:03 AM Florida (82-76) at Washington (59-99), 7:10 pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- The Florida Marlins are out of the playoff race, but their prospects are giving the team reasons to believe in the near future.

Looking for more sparks from recently recalled players, the Marlins take on the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

Top prospects Cameron Maybin and Gaby Sanchez combined for six hits in Florida's 9-4 win on Wednesday - its seventh in eight road games versus the Nationals.

Maybin, who was part of a package that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers prior to the season, went 3-for-3 plus a sacrifice bunt to raise his average to .500 (14-for-28). Sanchez, meanwhile, went 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI in his first major league start.

In the opener, Ryan Zimmerman belted a two-run homer en route to the Nationals' 9-4 win. That loss eliminated the Marlins from playoff contention.

Anibal Sanchez (2-5, 5.57 ERA) takes the mound for Florida looking for his first victory since August 16, when he held the Chicago Cubs to one run and three hits over 5 1/3 innings. In his last start, he yielded three runs - two earned - and four hits in 5 2/3 innings and was on the short end of a 3-2 loss on Saturday.

The 24-year-old righthander has surrendered four or more runs in four of his last six outings, and has yet to pitch at least eight innings this season. However, he tossed seven solid innings in a no-decision against the Nationals on September 14, allowing three runs - two earned - and four hits.

Sanchez spent half the season recovering from surgery on his right elbow, which kept him out for all but six starts in 2007.

Washington, which is trying to avoid its first 100-loss season since 1976, counters with Collin Balester (3-6, 4.83).

The 22-year-old Balester is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two starts against the Marlins this season, but was roughed up in his last outing against the San Diego Padres, giving up five runs and nine hits in five shoddy frames.