The Nationals franchise tries to make it six straight wins over the Reds for the first time in 11 years when the teams wrap up their season series Thursday at RFK Stadium.
Washington (47-60) is trying to avoid its fourth straight last-place finish in the NL East, and while it has scored the fewest runs in the majors with 411, its lineup has excelled against Cincinnati (45-63).
The Nationals defeated the Reds 7-2 on Wednesday, and have averaged 7.3 runs in their six games against them this season.
Washington had won just two of its previous 14 games against Cincinnati entering this season, but after losing 8-7 in their first meeting May 21, has taken the last five. The franchise has not won six consecutive games over the Reds since April 3-June 15, 1996, and has not swept them in a series since winning three games in Montreal from Sept. 27-29, 2002.
Nats right fielder Austin Kearns went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs on Wednesday, and is 8-for-25 (.320) with two home runs and six RBIs in six games against his former team this season.
Dmitri Young also had two hits Wednesday and is batting .455 (10-for-22) with four doubles and six RBIs against Cincinnati in 2007.
“We are getting those two-out hits with runners in scoring position. We have to bear down and get it done,” Washington outfielder Ryan Church told the team’s official Web site.
Mike Bacsik (4-6, 4.22 ERA) looks carry his July success into August and win a third straight start for the first time in his career. Bacsik went 1-5 with a 5.08 ERA in his first eight starts of the season, but was 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA in five starts last month.
The left-hander gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 6-2 win over the New York Mets on Friday, and has a 1.32 ERA in winning his last two starts - both at home.
Bacsik earned his first win of the season against the Reds on May 24, giving up three runs in a season-high 7 2-3 innings of a 4-3 victory. In his only other start against Cincinnati, he was reached for six runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-7 victory for the Mets on July 20, 2002.
The Reds have lost four straight, scoring just six runs during the skid, after winning 13 of their first 20 under interim manager Pete Mackanin. They haven’t dropped five in a row since a season-high six-game losing streak May 22-27.
“We’re not scoring runs. That’s the biggest thing right now,” Mackanin told the team’s official Web site. “We let too many opportunities slip away from us.”
Left fielder Adam Dunn is 2-for-19 (.105) in his last five games, but 2-for-4 with two home runs in his career against Bacsik.
Left-hander Phil Dumatrait has been called up from Triple-A Louisville to make his major league debut for the Reds on Thursday. Dumatrait went 10-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 21 starts in the minors, and 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his last five outings.
The 26-year-old pitcher was a first-round draft pick of Boston in 2000, and was acquired by Cincinnati in 2003. He’ll be the seventh player to make his major league debut with the Reds this season.
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