With another dismal season about to end, the Washington Nationals aren’t playing like the team with the worst record in the majors.
Shortstop Ian Desmond(notes) homered, tripled and drove in three runs during a 6-3 win at Atlanta on Friday to extend Washington’s second-longest winning streak of the season. The Nationals (57-103), who have lost more than 100 games for the second straight year, won eight in a row Aug. 2-9.
“Every game now is like a playoff game. We’re battling out there,” Desmond said.
The Braves (86-74), who were eliminated from postseason contention earlier this week, have lost four in a row since winning seven straight and 15 of 17.
“We’re not letting down,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “We’re trying to finish second ahead of Florida (in the NL East).”
Atlanta has dropped the first two of this four-game set to fall into a tie with the Marlins. The Braves had won their previous five meetings with Washington.
Desmond, a 24-year-old rookie who’s homered twice in his last four contests, is batting .286 with 11 RBIs in 19 games since being called up from the minors.
“He’s the kind of guy you can build with,” Washington manager Jim Riggleman said.
Adam Dunn(notes) had two hits Friday after going 0 for 26 in his previous seven games. The veteran outfielder is 1 for 5 against Jurrjens (14-10, 2.61 ERA), who will look to finish the season by winning a fifth consecutive start.
Jurrjens, who allowed five hits in seven innings of a 4-0 win over Florida on Monday, has given up two earned runs in 29 innings over his last four outings - all victories - to surpass his previous career high of 13 wins set last season.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.13 ERA in six starts against the Nationals, including 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two this year.
Martin Prado(notes) had four hits Friday for the Braves, who fell to 1-4 on their final homestand. It was the third four-hit game - and second against Washington - for Prado. He’s batting .458 against the Nationals this season overall, and .476 during a 10-game hitting streak versus them.
Prado has doubled at least once in all 10 games of that streak.
Washington’s Ross Detwiler(notes) (1-6, 5.35) looks to end his season with a second straight victory. He allowed one run in six innings of a 2-1 victory over New York on Monday, earning his first win in 13 career starts and two relief appearances.
“It feels great,” Detwiler said. “It kind of feels like I’ve got some pressure off myself.”
The left-hander hopes for a better outing against Atlanta after he gave up five runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings, but didn’t receive a decision in a 9-8 loss July 3, his only previous appearance versus the Braves.