Washington (18-14) at Arizona (18-15)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Tue May 10, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Tony Armas Jr. makes his season debut for the Washington Nationals as they try to extend their winning streak to 11 games over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Armas was activated off the disabled list after missing the early part of the season with a groin injury. Armas has made just 21 starts over the last two seasons due to back and shoulder problems, going 2-4 with a 4.88 ERA in 16 starts in 2004.

The 27-year-old right-hander last pitched on Thursday in a rehab start and allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings in Triple-A New Orleans’ 5-4, 12-inning loss to Round Rock. Armas went 1-2 with a 4.38 ERA in five rehab starts.

Armas will be facing the Diamondbacks for the second time in his career. He beat Arizona on May 2, 2001, yielding just one hit over six scoreless innings in a 4-3 win.

Washington held on for a 4-3 win on Monday to improve to 5-2 on its nine-game road trip. Nick Johnson and Ryan Church each had three hits and both drilled solo homers in the sixth inning.

The Nationals pounded 12 hits, marking the eighth straight game that they’ve had at least 10. They are batting .310 over their last nine games.

However, they will have to play on without second baseman Jose Vidro. After missing Washington’s previous three games due to a high-lateral right ankle sprain, Vidro was put on the 15-day DL on Monday. He hit .290 (29-of-100) in 28 games, with six doubles, four home runs—second on the club to Jose Guillen’s eight—and 15 RBIs.

The Diamondbacks’ Jose Cruz Jr. went 1-for-1 with four walks in his return to the lineup following a stint on the 15-day DL. Cruz, who is batting .333 in six games, had been sidelined since April 10 with back problems.

“He’s certainly an added piece to the recipe,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “It makes our lineup deeper. We’re able to do some different things, we’re able to split some people up. We might be able to rearrange the lineup some.”

Arizona starter Shawn Estes did not fare well against the Nationals when they were known as the Montreal Expos, going 4-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts.

The veteran left-hander is coming off Thursday’s 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh in which he yielded five runs and a season-high 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings. He allowed a pair of homers after surrendering only four in his first five starts.

“When I’m pitching well, regardless of where I’m pitching, I’m getting a lot of ground balls,” Estes said. “Tonight they ended up hitting the ball in the air a lot more.”

Estes is 1-3 with a 4.07 ERA over his last four starts.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Armas Atl vs. S. Estes Was
7-7 Record 7-8
4.97 ERA 4.80
59 K 63
54 BB 45
1.52 WHIP 1.43