VIERA, Fla. -- Dan Uggla, who is competing for a spot on the Nationals' roster, continued his hot-hitting spring with a two-run homer in the third inning to propel the Nats to a 4-2 victory over the Marlins at Space Coast Stadium on Saturday. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann turned in a solid outing as well in his fourth Grapefruit League start.
Henderson Alvarez, likely Miami's Opening Day starter, surrendered four runs on six hits in five innings, while Dee Gordon went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run scored to provide some early offense.
Uggla's homer was part of a four-run frame, paired with catcher Wilson Ramos' two-run single to help the Nats take a commanding lead.
Zimmermann did not take kindly to being hit in the elbow by a pitch from Alvarez in the second inning. The Nationals' starter glared toward the mound as home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom walked with him up the first-base line.
When Alvarez came to the plate in the fifth, Zimmermann brushed him back with a pitch low and inside. Alvarez laid down a sacrifice bunt later in the at-bat, and on his way back to the dugout, the two exchanged words.
"I'm a pitcher; I'm not going to do much damage, so just throw it over the middle," Zimmermann said. "Just throw it over the middle, I'm not going to hurt you. It's just frustrating when he throws a sinker up and in like that."
Alvarez said after the game the pitch that hit Zimmermann was not intentional, and was just a sinker that got away.
"[Alvarez] struggled with his command ... all day," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "He was not locating, really all of his pitches. He ran into a few hits in the third inning and gave up some runs. It wasn't a great outing for him at all."
This was Zimmermann's first outing against the Marlins since he threw a no-hitter against them in the final game of the regular season last year. And the first batter he faced, Gordon, laced a triple into the gap in right-center field. Zimmermann allowed eight hits in five innings, but he only gave up only one run and struck out four.
Up next for the Marlins: Jarred Cosart has struggled with consistency in his last two starts, but the right-hander looks to find his groove against the Twins at Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Miami is expected to go with most of its regulars, such as Giancarlo Stanton and Michael Morse.
Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.