Los Angeles (27-20) at Washington (19-29)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri May 26, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Los Angeles Dodgers seek their eighth straight win when they open a three-game series with the Washington Nationals on Friday at RFK Stadium.

Los Angeles, which was five games under .500 at 12-17 following a 3-0 loss to San Diego on May 4, has gone 15-3 since and outscored its opponents 120-57, including 55-12 during its seven-game winning streak.

The starting rotation is 10-2 with a 2.52 ERA over the last 18 games while the offense is hitting .320 with 18 homers in that span, solid numbers for a team that already has been without Nomar Garciaparra, Kenny Lofton, Bill Mueller, Cesar Izturis and others at some point this season due to injury.

“We’re playing good baseball right now and getting good results,” first-year manager Grady Little said. “Every time we come to the park, we are expecting to win the ballgame. That’s a good feeling.”

Fueled by the returns of Lofton and Garciaparra, who is hitting .375 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 29 games, the Dodgers (27-20) have won their last six series and are riding their longest winning streak since they won eight straight from April 12-20, 2005.

“I’ve been on some teams that have gotten on rolls—this is fun,” said Friday’s starter Brett Tomko. “You ride a wave, hope you ride it as long as you can.”

Tomko (5-1, 3.21 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last six starts while holding opposing hitters to a .207 batting average.

He allowed three first-inning runs against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, but gave up just one run over the next five innings in an 8-4 win.

Tomko is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA lifetime versus Washington.

The Nationals (19-29) also have played well of late, winning three straight games for just the second time this season to improve to 5-2 on their 10-game homestand.

After taking two of three games from Baltimore, Washington lost 10-3 in the opener of a four-game set to Houston on Monday before rallying to win the last three by a combined score of 17-7, including an 8-5 victory in Thursday’s finale.

Second baseman Jose Vidro went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and four RBIs and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman drove in three runs.

“This has been the best,” said Vidro, whose .347 batting average leads the NL. “We’ve put everything together out there on the field, it’s not just on paper.”

Nationals starter Livan Hernandez (2-5, 5.51) is coming off one of his best outings this season as he tries to regain the form that led to a staff-high 15 wins a year ago.

Hernandez snapped a personal four-game losing skid Sunday in a 3-1 victory over Baltimore when he allowed one run in seven innings and struck out four.

The right-hander continued to struggle with his control, however, and walked four batters for the fourth time in five starts.

Hernandez is 6-11 with a 4.59 ERA in 21 career starts versus the Dodgers.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Tomko Col vs. L. Hernandez Mil
8-7 Record 13-13
4.73 ERA 4.83
76 K 128
29 BB 78
1.35 WHIP 1.50