Los Angeles (30-21) at Washington (21-31)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed May 30, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Juan Pierre’s bat is heating up, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are hot along with him.

Pierre and the Dodgers seek their sixth victory in seven games Wednesday night when they continue their three game series at the Washington Nationals.

After a four-game losing skid, Los Angeles (30-21) has won five of its last six to maintain a slim, one-half game NL West lead over surging Arizona, which has won six straight games. Third-place San Diego is only one game out of the lead.

Pierre has been a big part of the current run. The speedy center fielder, who signed with the Dodgers last fall after spending the 2006 season with the Chicago Cubs, has four multihit games in his last five contests to raise his season average 21 points to .286.

In Tuesday night’s series opener, he had a career-high four extra-base hits — three doubles and a triple—to lead Los Angeles to a 10-0 rout.

“It was probably the best I’ve felt at the plate as a Dodger,” said Pierre, who is hitting .311 in wins this season but only .244 in losses.

Los Angeles opened its first of three 10-game road trips this season on a positive note, improving to 13-11 away from home compared with a 17-10 mark at Dodger Stadium.

Derek Lowe (4-5, 3.64 ERA) takes the mound Wednesday looking to lead the Dodgers to their third straight win overall. The right-handed sinkerballer has a 2.60 ERA and two complete games in five May starts, but has only a 2-2 record for the month to show for his efforts.

He limited the Chicago Cubs to one run and four hits in six innings last Friday and left with a four-run lead, but the Dodgers’ bullpen gave up seven runs in the seventh inning of a 9-8 defeat.

Lowe won his only two career starts against the Nationals—both last season — while allowing five runs over 12 innings.

Washington counters with left-hander Mike Bacsik (1-0, 1.98), who may finally be finding a home in the Nationals rotation after appearing in 22 major league games for three different clubs between 2001-2004.

He worked his way back to the majors May 19 after Nationals (21-31) starter Jason Bergmann (elbow inflammation) went on the disabled list, and has since allowed only three runs over 13 2-3 innings in two starts.

On Thursday at Cincinnati, Bacsik gave up three runs and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings of Washington’s 4-3 victory to earn his first major league win since 2004, but still saw room for improvement.

“Honestly, in the first couple of innings, I didn’t think I pitched very well,” Bacsik said. “I got away with some pitches, but I was able to make some adjustments that kept me from getting killed.”

Washington has dropped two of three after its second four-game winning streak of the season. The Nationals’ five-hit effort Tuesday came after a 5-2 road trip in which they batted .310 and averaged seven runs.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Lowe Tex vs. M. Bacsik Was
12-14 Record 5-8
3.88 ERA 5.11
147 K 45
59 BB 29
1.27 WHIP 1.44


Wednesday, May 30