Atlanta (59-75) at Washington (49-85)

  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Aug 29, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Cristian Guzman capped off the Washington Nationals’ impressive sweep of a playoff contender by hitting for the cycle.

The shortstop will now try continue his hot hitting and help the Nationals match their longest winning streak of the season Friday night when they open a three-game set against the Atlanta Braves.

Guzman went 4-for-5 on Thursday with a double, a triple, a homer and three RBIs, hitting for the cycle for the first time in his nine-year career and powering Washington’s 11-2 win over Los Angeles. The victory completed a three-game sweep, during which Guzman went 9-for-13 (.692) with four RBIs.

“It was just a great feeling in a season full of some not-so-happy memories,” said Nationals pitcher Jason Bergmann, who is scheduled to start Saturday. “We’ve been playing well of late, and it’s just good to see smiles on everyone’s face.”

The Nationals (49-85), owners of the worst record in the majors, have won five of their last seven games and are now in position to win four in a row for the third time this season. They posted four-game winning streaks from April 27-May 1, and Aug. 1-4.

Odalis Perez (5-10, 4.21) will take the mound trying to help Washington match that feat, and seeking his first win in four starts.

The left-hander is 0-2 with a 4.96 ERA over his last three outings. He lasted just 4 1-3 innings Saturday, giving up five runs and 10 hits with four strikeouts and four walks in a 9-2 loss at the Chicago Cubs.

Perez won his last start against Atlanta (59-75) on July 20, despite allowing five runs and nine hits, including two homers, in five innings. Washington gave him plenty of support in a 15-6 victory.

The Nationals hold a 7-4 advantage over the Braves in the season series after taking five of the last six meetings, scoring 44 runs in those games.

Atlanta, though, has won three of its last five overall following a 1-11 stretch. The Braves beat Florida 4-2 on Thursday to take two of the three games in that series.

“It seems like two months since we won any series,” Braves manager Bobby Cox told the team’s official Web site.

The Braves hope Brian McCann has snapped out of his funk after hitting a go-ahead three-run homer in the fifth inning of Thursday’s victory. That was the catcher’s only hit in three at-bats in the contest, though, and he’s 2-for-18 (.111) in his last six games.

McCann is 5-for-24 (.208) with one homer and one RBI in six games at Washington this season.

Atlanta’s Jorge Campillo (7-6, 3.37 ERA) will make his first start against the Nationals. He has no record and a 2.45 ERA in three relief appearances versus Washington.

The right-hander is 1-2 with a 7.04 ERA in his last four starts. He didn’t factor in the decision Saturday, yielding three runs and seven hits in five innings of an 8-4 win at St. Louis.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Campillo KC vs. O. Perez WAS
8-7 Record 7-12
3.91 ERA 4.34
107 K 119
38 BB 55
1.24 WHIP 1.48


Friday, Aug 29