Washington (52-37) at Milwaukee (43-46)

Rain Currently: Milwaukee, WI, US
Temp: 39° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 15, 2005
  • TV: WDCA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Preston Wilson looks to build on a solid Washington debut as the Nationals resume a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

Damian Miller capped his three-RBI performance with a two-run double in the eighth inning Thursday to give Milwaukee a 4-2 win over the suddenly struggling Nationals.

Washington has lost three straight and five of its last six games, but Wilson’s debut could be a sign of things to come for the light-hitting Nationals.

Wilson hit his first homer for Washington, a solo shot in his first at-bat that gave the Nationals a brief 1-0 lead. He was acquired Wednesday from Colorado, where he led the Rockies with 15 homers and 45 RBIs.

“It’s a great opportunity to come to a team that’s playing great baseball,” Wilson said. “I think anybody who plays the game wants to be a part of something like that.”

Wilson could be just what the NL East-leading Nationals need for a lineup that has produced the fewest runs in the majors, and is tied for the fewest homers. With cleanup hitter Nick Johnson on the disabled list, the Nationals were reduced to using utility players such as Carlos Baerga and Wil Cordero in the No. 4 spot in the order. Jose Guillen batted cleanup Thursday and struck out three times.

Wilson and the Nationals will face Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets on Friday.

Sheets has won three straight decisions and is 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA over his last seven starts. The right-hander has been working his way back after missing most of May with an inflammation of the inner ear.

“My breaking ball hasn’t been that good (this season),” Sheets said. “When I get that pitch going, I’ll get more strikeouts. I feel it coming.”

Sheets has 77 strikeouts in 13 starts. He struck out 264 in 34 starts in 2004.

“Last year I was in a way better groove,” Sheets said. “I had A-plus stuff. Nothing seems easy this year, but I can feel it coming.”

Sheets is 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA in six career starts against the Nationals franchise.

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Starting Pitchers

L. Hernandez MIL vs. B. Sheets ATL
15-10 Record 10-9
3.98 ERA 3.33
147 K 141
84 BB 25
1.43 WHIP 1.07