Home or away, the Washington Nationals continue to pile up victories.
The Nationals look for an eighth consecutive win overall and on the road Saturday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks .
While Washington (70-43) has taken care of business by going 32-22 at home, a big reason for its overall success is a major league-best 38-21 mark on the road. In the midst of their longest road winning stretch since a nine-game run Sept. 12-26, the Nationals have won 11 of 12 away from home. They not have dropped a road series since losing two of three at Baltimore from June 22-24.
Stephen Strasburg allowed one run and one hit over six innings while Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse each homered to help Washington improve to 5-0 on a 10-game trip with a 9-1 victory at Arizona on Friday.
The Nationals' seven-game overall winning streak is their longest since an eight-game run June 10-18, 2011. They have a 4 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in NL East."It's starting to get more exciting," said second baseman Steve Lombardozzi , who had a career-high four hits in the opener.
Morse, who has homered three times in two games, is batting .356 with six home runs and 16 RBIs during a 14-game road hitting streak.
Despite their current success, the Nationals could face a stiff challenge against scheduled Arizona starter Wade Miley (12-7, 2.85 ERA). After giving up a solo homer and two other hits in eight innings of an 8-2 win at Los Angeles on July 31, the All-Star followed that effort by conceding only an unearned run in six innings of a 4-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Monday.
"I wasn't executing, but we were able to keep it to one, so it wasn't bad," Miley said.
The left-hander recorded his first career win in his second major league start Aug. 25 when he allowed five hits over six scoreless innings of an 8-1 victory at Washington.
Miley will try to help Arizona (57-56) avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the Nationals. Chris Johnson 's RBI single was one of three hits Friday for the Diamondbacks, who have lost five of seven overall.
Johnson has batted .333 with 17 RBIs in 11 games since Arizona acquired him from Houston on July 29.
The Diamondbacks look to bounce against former teammate Edwin Jackson (6-7, 3.56), who has allowed two runs over 12 1-3 innings while going 1-0 in his last two road starts. He gave up those runs and two hits while striking out eight in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4, 11-inning victory at Houston on Monday.
Despite that solid effort, Jackson hopes to be more efficient after failing to last past the sixth inning for a second straight outing."The game was good enough to keep us close," the right-hander said. "I have to do a better job of coming out and getting ahead in the count and putting guys away earlier. I have to do a better job of going out there and attacking the strike zone to go later in the game."
Jackson, who went 6-10 with a 5.16 ERA and threw a no-hitter for Arizona in 2010, is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts against his former team. He allowed four runs in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 5-4 home win over the Diamondbacks on May 2.
|August 05, 2012||Mark DeRosa||15-Day DL||Left abdominal strain|
|August 01, 2012||Henry Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|July 29, 2012||Adam LaRoche||Day-to-Day||Left game - Back tightness|
|July 22, 2012||Ian Desmond||15-Day DL||Torn left oblique|
|July 18, 2012||Jhonatan Solano||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|July 01, 2012||Chien-Ming Wang||15-Day DL||Strained right hip|
|August 09, 2012||Josh Collmenter||15-Day DL||Ulcers|
|August 06, 2012||Henry Blanco||15-Day DL||Sprained left thumb|
|June 27, 2012||Daniel Hudson||15-Day DL||Right foream tightness|
|June 25, 2012||John McDonald||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 25, 2012||John McDonald||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 17, 2012||Joe Saunders||15-Day DL||Strained left shoulder|
PHOENIX (AP) -- Things are going so well for the Washington Nationals that Jesus Flores even threw out a runner trying to steal second.
When he nailed Stephen Drew in the fourth inning on Saturday night, it was the fifth time he had thrown out a base runner trying to steal in 50 attempts.
In retrospect, it was a big play as the Nationals stretched their season-best winning streak to eight games with a 6-5 victory over the sloppy Arizona Diamondbacks .
Flores singled in the final and what proved to be the deciding run in Washington's five-run fifth inning. Jayson Werth and Michael Morse each had an RBI double and Ryan Zimmerman drove in two with a single in the uprising, a rally aided by two Arizona errors and a wild pitch by Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley (12-8).
"It was a mess," said Arizona catcher Miguel Montero , who committed one of the miscues. "It was a bad inning."
Flores is well aware that, while the Nationals have excelled in virtually all other departments, their failure to throw out runners attempting to steal has been a glaring weakness. Not that he is entirely, or even mostly, to blame, because Washington's starters are notoriously bad at keeping runners from taking off.
"I know people outside, they think different stuff," Flores said, "but it's been really hard for me being back there and not have the time or the chance to throw those guys out. Tonight I knew at any point that guy was going to take off. Even though it was a slider pitcher, I got a good release, and for the first time in a while, I got him out."
Aaron Hill homered and Justin Upton doubled twice for the Diamondbacks, losers of the first two of the series and six of eight overall.
Edwin Jackson (7-7) got the win despite giving up five runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.
"The runs we scored definitely backed up a bad outing by me," he said. "I guess it was just good enough to keep us close. The bullpen came in and did a good job, as always. We were able to get a win. It wasn't necessarily the way that I planned for it to go, but somehow it worked."
Tyler Clippard threw a perfect ninth for his 24th save in 28 tries.
The Nationals, with a major league-best 71-43 record, stayed 4 1-2 games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East. Arizona dropped five games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West.
Miley went 4 1-3 innings, his shortest outing since June 30, and gave up six runs - four earned - and nine hits.
"It is very frustrating," he said. "You go out and the team gives you four runs, early. It is on me. I couldn't keep the lead. It got ugly out there. It was a merry go round and I couldn't put an end to it."
The rookie left-hander was cruising with a 4-1 lead when things fell apart.
Steve Lombardozzi led off the fifth with a bunt single, took second on Jackson's sacrifice bunt, and scored when Werth doubled to right. Third baseman Chris Johnson couldn't handle Espinosa's sharp grounder, the ball careening off his glove into the outfield grass for an error that left runners at second and third.
Zimmerman followed with a single that brought home both runners to tie the game 4-4. Zimmerman took second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on the play when the catcher Montero threw wildly past second.
Morse's double brought in Zimmerman to put the Nationals ahead 5-4. Miley walked Adam LaRoche and was finished for the night, but the Nationals weren't.
Brad Bergeson got Tyler Moore to line out to center, but Flores singled in Morse to boost the lead to 6-4. Two of Washington's runs in the inning were unearned.
Arizona cut it to 6-5 in the sixth when Gerardo Parra singled with one out and scored on Ryan Wheeler 's pinch-hit double off the center field wall.
While Washington had just one base runner, on a walk, in the final four innings, the Diamondbacks threatened in the seventh and eighth.
Hill led off the seventh with a double but Kubel struck out, then Paul Goldschmidt and Upton grounded out. Washington reliever Michael Gonzalez walked two of the first three he faced in the eighth. But pinch hitter Jake Elmore flied out in his major league debut, and Drew struck out.
Notes: The Nationals improved to 39-21 on the road, by far the best in the majors. ... With LHP Mike Zagurski designated for assignment on Saturday, Arizona has no left-hander in the bullpen. ... A serious dust storm swept through downtown Phoenix during the game, some sifting through the cracks of Chase Field. ... Washington improved to 10-2 in August, best in the majors. ... Miley is 3-4 in his last seven starts. ... A pair of left-handers go in the series finale on Sunday, rookie Patrick Corbin (3-4, 3.53 ERA) for Arizona, and Ross Detwiler (6-4, 2.99) taking the mound for the Nationals.