Pittsburgh (25-34) at Washington (24-35)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 30° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Thu Jun 7, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Not a whole lot has gone right for the Washington Nationals this season. Their decision to sign Dmitri Young is one move, however, that looks very good right now.

Young looks to continue his hot hitting Thursday afternoon as the Nationals close a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Nationals (24-35) ended a three-game losing streak Wednesday, blowing a four-run lead before recovering for a 6-5 victory. Cristian Guzman scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Salomon Torres with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Young, signed to a minor league contract on Feb. 14, had three hits for his third multihit game in the last six contests. The first baseman is batting .560 (14-for-25) with a homer and five RBIs in that span, and has raised his overall average to .329.

Guzman also continued his recent strong play with two singles. He is 16-for-31 (.516) during a seven-game hitting streak.

Washington, which opens a nine-game road trip Friday in Minnesota, is 3-5 on a nine-game homestand.

“It’s very important to win it because of what we’re going through right now - this homestand, blowing the four-run lead,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said. “Our team has shown a lot of character, but this would have been a kind of discouraging loss.”

Washington figures to have a good chance at back-to-back wins with Matt Chico (3-4, 5.13 ERA) on the mound.

The Nationals have won Chico’s last five starts, although he has lasted fewer than six innings in four of those outings and has only earned one of the wins.

The left-hander gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings Friday in the Nationals’ 4-3, 10-inning win over San Diego. He is 3-0 with a 4.80 ERA in six home starts, compared to 0-4 with a 5.46 ERA in six outings on the road.

Chico, who had not pitched above Double-A before this season, has never faced the Pirates.

Wednesday’s loss was the sixth in eight games for Pittsburgh (25-34), which got a three-run homer from Adam LaRoche.

Pirates outfielder Xavier Nady, who had four RBIs in Tuesday’s 7-6 victory, left Wednesday’s game in the second inning with tightness in his left hamstring. The Nationals probably wouldn’t mind if he had to sit out the series finale, since he is batting .389 (21-for-54) in his career against them.

Ian Snell (5-4, 2.94) hopes to build off an excellent performance when he takes the mound for Pittsburgh. The right-hander limited the Dodgers to one run and six hits over eight innings Saturday in a 3-1 victory. He walked two and struck out six in his best start since tossing seven scoreless innings against Cincinnati on April 27.

He had allowed three runs or more in each of his previous three starts after doing so only once in his first eight outings.

Snell gave up four runs in six innings last July 15 in his only career start against the Nationals. He has no record and a 6.00 ERA in three appearances versus Washington.

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Starting Pitchers

I. Snell LAD vs. M. Chico Was
9-12 Record 7-9
3.76 ERA 4.63
177 K 94
68 BB 74
1.33 WHIP 1.54


Thursday, Jun 7