Atlanta (63-48) at Washington (53-56)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 84° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Wed Aug 3, 2011
  • TV: SPSO, MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Following somewhat of a rocky stretch, the Atlanta BravesBrandon Beachy(notes) seemed to regain his early-season form during his last start.

The Washington Nationals, meanwhile, hope Chien-Ming Wang(notes) soon recaptures the command that led to success earlier in his career.

Beachy takes the mound opposite Wang in hopes of helping the visiting Braves avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Nationals and a fourth consecutive defeat for the first time this season Wednesday.

After going 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA through the end of June, Beachy (4-2, 3.27 ERA) went 0-1 with a 4.98 mark over four July starts before allowing two hits in 7 1-3 innings of Friday’s 5-0 win over Florida.

“Outstanding performance,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He went up and down the strike zone, down and in. He was dominant (Friday).”

Beachy was effective against Washington in a 4-2 loss Sept. 26, yielding two runs, five hits and striking out nine over five innings - his only career appearance in this matchup.

The rookie now looks to slow down the surging Nationals (53-56), who seek a fifth straight victory after Tuesday’s 9-3 win.

John Lannan(notes) earned his team-high eighth victory and Rick Ankiel(notes) followed up Monday’s two-homer effort with a grand slam in the fourth, capping a five-run inning. Four of Ankiel’s six homers this season have come against the Braves (63-48).

“Ankiel is swinging it pretty good right now,” Gonzalez said. “We’re not making pitches and we’re paying for it right now with him at the plate.”

Michael Morse(notes) and Ian Desmond(notes) also went deep for Washington, which is batting .326 during its four-game winning streak.

“This is what this club is capable of doing,” manager Davey Johnson said. “Everyone starts getting that fever - that hitting fever - it’s fun. The talent’s been there.”

Johnson’s starting rotation has also thrived during the team’s run, compiling a 1.50 ERA. Continuing that trend, however, could prove difficult with Wang (0-1, 9.00) on the hill.

The Taiwan native, who went 54-20 with a 3.79 ERA from 2005-2008 with the New York Yankees prior to tearing the capsule in his right shoulder in 2009, spent the majority of the last two years dealing with related injuries. Wang, though, made his first major league appearance since July 4, 2009, on Friday, surrendering six runs - four earned - and eight hits in four innings of an 8-5 loss to the Mets.

“I feel really happy and then especially during the game,” Wang, who threw 60 pitches, said through an interpreter. “I feel like I can do it again, come back to the mound, especially it’s been a while, a long time. I was down in Florida rehabbing for almost two years. Right now, I’m back.”

Wang gets the difficult assignment of trying to quiet the red-hot Dan Uggla(notes), who extended the majors’ longest active hitting streak to 24 games with a single Tuesday. Uggla is batting .348 with 10 homers during his run while Freddie Freeman(notes) has recorded a .406 average over a 17-game run of his own.

Uggla and Freeman seem to be the only ones on Atlanta coming up with big hits of late. The Braves have gone 4 for 22 (.182) with runners in scoring position and been outscored 17-7 during their season worst-tying three-game skid.

“All that stuff is bittersweet because bottom line, we need a win,” Uggla said. “It’s the last thing I’m worried about when you’re trying to fight back and get back in it.”

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Starting Pitchers

B. Beachy LAD vs. C. Wang Atl
7-3 Record 4-3
3.68 ERA 4.04
169 K 25
46 BB 13
1.21 WHIP 1.28

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 3