Washington (42-70) at Colorado (51-63)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO, US
Temp: 18° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Tue Aug 5, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Not even a game at Coors Field could slow down the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals look to win a season-best fifth game in a row when they continue their four-game series against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.

Washington (42-70) had lost nine consecutive games from July 22-31, before opening August with a three-game sweep of Cincinnati at Nationals Park. Despite entering this series a major league-worst 3-16 on the road since June 17, the Nationals extended their winning streak with Monday’s 9-4 victory over the Rockies (51-63), snapping a seven-game losing streak at Coors.

Washington, which also won four straight games from April 27-May 1, has outscored its opponents 28-14 during the current streak. The Nationals, owners of the worst record in the majors, have not won five consecutive games since last Sept. 1-5.

“We are playing better defense and have played four clean games so far,” manager Manny Acta said.

Rookie outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, acquired from Arizona on July 22, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI on Monday. Bonifacio has been a big part of Washington’s winning streak, going 8-for-18 (.444) with two triples, two RBIs and four runs in four games since being called up from Triple-A Columbus.

John Lannan (6-11, 3.61 ERA) seeks to extend the Nationals’ surge when he makes his first career start against the Rockies on Tuesday.

Washington has won just two of Lannan’s last 12 starts, but it hasn’t all been the left-hander’s fault, as he’s received two or fewer runs of support in eight of those games.

Lannan has been at his best on the road, but again, has received little help. He has posted the majors’ fifth-best road ERA (2.57), but has received baseball’s fourth-worst road run support average (3.04), leaving him 4-5 away from the nation’s capital.

On Thursday, Lannan yielded a career-high eight runs - six earned - and nine hits with seven strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-4 home loss to Philadelphia. He had gone 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in his previous three starts.

Colorado has lost five of its last eight games after winning nine of 10 to climb back into the NL West race.

Monday’s loss was a disappointing start to a 10-game homestand for the Rockies, who lost for just the third time in their last 14 games at Coors. They are now eight games behind division-leading Arizona.

Jorge De La Rosa (5-6, 6.94) takes the ball Tuesday looking to help Colorado avoid losing its first consecutive games in a home series since dropping two straight to San Francisco May 20-21.

De La Rosa was tagged for seven runs, five hits and four walks in only 1 2-3 innings of a 12-2 loss to Florida on Thursday, after allowing two runs in 12 2-3 innings while winning his previous two outings.

“He showed some growth the last two starts when he got in the stretch, and for whatever reason, he fell back in that trap door,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

The left-hander is 4-0 with a 4.64 ERA in his last six home starts, as he’s been backed by an average of 9.55 runs in those games.

In his only career start against the Nationals on June 4, 2006, De La Rosa gave up five runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-4 loss for Milwaukee.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lannan KC vs. J. De La Rosa COL
9-15 Record 10-8
3.91 ERA 4.92
117 K 128
72 BB 62
1.34 WHIP 1.46