Washington (20-29) scored a season-high at home and collected 16 hits to open the series with a 10-4 victory on Friday, snapping Los Angeles’ seven-game winning streak.
“Everybody’s bat is coming along,” said Nationals manager Frank Robinson, whose team has won seven of nine games since it was 14 games under .500 at 13-27 on May 17. “It’s kind of catching. You can’t force these things, nobody can explain it.”
Soriano has 10 homers in 21 games at RFK Stadium and also leads the Nationals in RBIs (34) and stolen bases (12). Defensively, he has nine outfield assists, a surprising number for the former infielder who initially refused to play the outfield in spring training.
“In the meeting, the other team, they say, ‘If you’ve got a chance to run, then run,”’ Soriano said. “I’ve never played left field. I’m not too comfortable in left field. Maybe in a couple of months, I feel more comfortable in left and I stay there.”
Shawn Hill (NR) looks to contain a Los Angeles offense that has averaged 6.5 runs over its last 19 games when he makes his first start in nearly two years Saturday.
Hill, who last pitched in the majors on July 9, 2004, enters the rotation in place of Zach Day, who was put on 15-day disabled list Wednesday with shoulder tendinitis.
The 25-year-old right-hander went 1-2 with a 16.00 ERA in three starts with the Montreal Expos in 2004 and has been in the minor leagues since.
He went 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA in eight starts with Double-A Harrisburg earlier this season and made one start with Triple-A New Orleans on Sunday, allowing two runs in five innings of an 8-6 win over Colorado Springs.
Catcher Brian Schneider went 2-for-4 on Friday in his return to the Washington lineup after missing 14 games with a strained left hamstring.
Despite the loss, the Dodgers (27-21) are 15-4 since May 4 and have outscored their opponents 124-67 over that span.
The team is batting .316 with 19 homers during the hot stretch.
Coming off one of his best outings of the season, Derek Lowe (2-3, 3.08 ERA) tries to win back-to-back games for the first time since last September.
The right-handed sinkerballer pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just three hits, striking out a season-high seven in a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Lowe hasn’t faced the Nationals franchise since July 16, 2001, when he earned the save in a 6-5 win over the Expos while pitching for Boston.