Soriano and the Nationals look to win their third straight game when they continue their four-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies at RFK Stadium on Friday.
Last season, Washington (28-33) went a major league-best 20-6 in June to take a 4 1/2-game NL East lead by month’s end.
The Nationals opened a season-long 11-game homestand with a 5-2 win over the Phillies (32-28) on Thursday to improve to 6-1 this month. Washington is 15-6 since May 18—the top record in baseball over that span.
“We’re playing as good a baseball as we’re going to play, as far as the won-loss record is concerned,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said. “There’s a good feel down there. Everybody comes to the ballpark with a gleam in their eye, with the thought of, ‘We’re going to win tonight,’ not that they we’re going to go out here and try and win one—we’re going to win.”
Soriano, acquired from Texas in December, is one of the biggest reasons for the club’s June surge.
Soriano hit his 23rd home run and scored four runs Thursday, and is batting .419 (13-for-31) with five homers and 11 RBIs during his current eight-game hitting streak.
He has homered in 11 consecutive series, the longest such streak in baseball this season and the second-longest in franchise history. Vladimir Guerrero hit a home run in 12 straight series as a member of the Montreal Expos in 2001.
“I try to be more patient,” said Soriano, who has scored 28 runs in 26 games since taking over the leadoff spot on May 12. “Now I feel very comfortable. I see the ball better.”
Tony Armas Jr. (6-3, 3.34 ERA) will take the mound for his third start against the Phillies this season.
Armas earned his first win of the season against Philadelphia on April 18, and suffered his most recent loss against the Phillies on May 30, both starts coming on the road.
The right-hander allowed one run and two hits in six innings while retiring 13 of the first 14 batters he faced in an 8-4 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.
He is 6-5 with a 4.74 ERA in 13 career starts against the Phillies.
Philadelphia managed just four hits on Thursday as its four-game winning streak was snapped.
Brett Myers (4-2, 2.90), who has allowed three or fewer earned runs in all 12 of his starts this season, looks to keep the run of consistency going Friday.
He allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings in a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, but did not factor in the decision.
The 25-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and three hits in eight innings in a 4-2 win over Armas and the Nationals on May 30.
Myers is 5-5 with a 4.58 lifetime ERA in 13 games against the Washington franchise.