Giants-Nationals Preview

The Associated Press

After watching their lengthy winning streak come to an end, the Washington Nationals regrouped behind a superb pitching performance.

The San Francisco Giants could be in for another long day at the plate with Stephen Strasburg scheduled to start.

Strasburg tries to win a season best-tying third consecutive start in Sunday's series finale against the visiting Giants.

Washington (74-54) matched a franchise record with 10 consecutive victories before falling 10-3 on Friday, but it bounced back with a 6-2 win the following day. Jayson Werth went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and Jordan Zimmermann threw eight strong innings.

"Last night they score 10 runs, they kind of put a dagger in us a little bit," said Denard Span, who had two hits and two runs Saturday. "For us to respond, and come out and get a win is definitely good for us."

The Nationals now turn to Strasburg (10-10, 3.41 ERA), who has allowed one or zero runs in four of his last five starts. The right-hander yielded one and three hits over eight innings to beat Arizona 8-1 on Tuesday in his longest outing of the year.

"He started with his fastball early, his changeup was good tonight, he's got a good breaking ball and he's much more polished than he used to be," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson told MLB's official website. "He used to be more of a thrower. Now he's got great stuff, electric, and he's certainly grown up to become a good pitcher."

Strasburg, second in the NL with 10.40 strikeouts per nine innings, is 8-1 with a 2.11 ERA in his last 13 home starts.

"I feel great right now. My arm has felt great all year. My body is accustomed to the workload that it takes," he said. "I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm seeing good results."

Strasburg won three consecutive outings May 30-June 9, with the last of those victories coming 9-2 at San Francisco. He threw six innings of one-run ball opposite Ryan Vogelsong, improving to 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA against the Giants (68-60).

Vogelsong (7-9, 3.73) is set to get back on the hill for the first time since his last start was cut short due to weather. The right-hander yielded two runs over four innings in Tuesday's 2-1 road loss to the Chicago Cubs, a game the clubs resumed two days later following San Francisco's successful protest.

Despite that showing, Vogelsong is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts this month. He's gone 1-2 with an 8.83 ERA in his last four games against Washington after giving up a season-high six runs over six-plus innings in June.

Span is 5 for 10 with three extra-base hits in their matchups and Werth is 2 for 5 with a double. Werth, 8 for 18 with a homer and five RBIs over the last five games, is hitting .405 with six extra-base hits and 12 RBIs over an 11-game stretch against San Francisco.

The Giants had won three straight and five of six before losing Saturday. Hunter Pence provided all the offense with a two-run homer - his third home run in seven games - as the team went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

Pablo Sandoval added three hits, giving him nine in his last 15 at-bats. He's a career .337 hitter against the Nationals, his highest mark against any NL team.

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