Washington (56-103) at Atlanta (86-73)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Oct 2, 2009
  • TV: MASN, SPSO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With the Atlanta Braves eliminated from postseason contention, the Washington Nationals might have a good chance to put a positive finish on another dismal season.

The Nationals look for a fifth straight victory when they face the Braves on Friday night at Turner Field.

Ryan Zimmerman(notes) had two doubles and Pete Orr(notes) hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning to lead Washington to a 2-1 win on Thursday in the opener of the four-game set.

Earlier in the day, Colorado beat Milwaukee to clinch the NL wild card and eliminate Atlanta (86-73) from the playoff chase. The Nationals then snapped a five-game losing streak to the Braves and won for the first time in six contests in Atlanta.

The Braves (86-73) had lost three in a row after winning seven straight and 15 of 17.

Though the Nationals (56-103) have lost at least 100 games for the second straight season, they have a chance to finish strong now that the Braves have little left to play for.

“We’re playing the game the right way,” Orr said. “Hopefully, we’re going in the right direction.”

Zimmerman, Washington’s lone All-Star, has an RBI in five straight games and 11 against Atlanta this season. He’s batting .250 with two home runs against Braves’ scheduled starter Derek Lowe(notes).

Lowe (15-9, 4.55 ERA) takes the ball looking to end his first season in Atlanta with a third straight victory.

The right-hander allowed three runs for the third straight start, and seven hits over six innings of a 6-3, 10-inning win at Washington on Sunday. Lowe is 2-0 in his last four starts despite a 6.27 ERA.

“Every game has been something new,” Lowe told the Braves’ official Web site of his inconsistent season.

Lowe is 6-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 11 starts against the Nationals, including 1-2 with a 4.28 ERA in five this season.

Washington counters with Livan Hernandez(notes) (8-12, 5.48 ERA), who hopes to return to the Nationals in 2010.

The 34-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings in last weekend’s loss to Lowe and the Braves.

“I like the Nationals because of the way they treat people,” Hernandez told the Nationals’ official Web site of his second stint with the team. “I think it’s very nice. I think that is more important. I’m very excited to come back.”

Hernandez, who’s 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in seven starts since being signed after the New York Mets released him, is 4-15 with a 5.41 ERA in 26 starts against the Braves. He’s 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two outings this year.

Nate McLouth(notes) homered and Garret Anderson(notes) recorded his 2,500th career hit Thursday for the Braves, who’ve lost each of their last three contests by one run.

“They’re just accomplishments that you have a chance to reach when you play a lot of years,” said the 37-year-old Anderson, who’s batting .275 with 13 homers and 61 RBIs in his first season with Atlanta.

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Starting Pitchers

L. Hernandez Mil vs. D. Lowe Tex
9-12 Record 15-10
5.44 ERA 4.67
102 K 111
67 BB 63
1.56 WHIP 1.52

Scoreboard

Friday, Oct 2