While they own a lackluster record, the Philadelphia Phillies ' play at home lately has provided some optimism.
Cliff Lee 's lengthy win streak has also been a bright spot.
The left-hander will try to earn a seventh consecutive win while helping the Phillies record their sixth in a row at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night against Washington Nationals .
Philadelphia hasn't been more than one game above .500 this season but would top that if it could sweep a six-game homestand that began Monday. Domonic Brown helped kick off that stay with a game-ending single in 5-4 win over Washington after Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save in 14 chances this season.
Ryan Howard also went 3 for 3 and hit his 300th home run as a first baseman.
"(Papelbon's) been great for us," Brown said. "I told him we're going to fight for him, and we ended up coming up with the win."
Lee (8-2, 2.55 ERA) will try to help the Phillies (34-37) move a step closer to matching its longest win streak at Citizens Bank in 2012, an eight-game run Aug. 30-Sept. 21.
Lee is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last eight starts, and gave up two runs and three hits over seven innings in his latest outing Thursday, a 3-2 victory in Minnesota.
"I'm going to continue to do what I can to give this team a chance to win when I pitch, and that's really the only thing I can control," he told the team's website.
He was 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against the Nationals in 2012.
Washington (34-35) will seek to avoid its first three-game losing streak since dropping a season high-tying four in a row May 18-21.
Ross Detwiler (2-4, 3.02) looks to provide another solid outing. The left-hander, who returned from the disabled list Thursday, has given up three runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this season and each of his last four.
In his first game back from a strained back muscle, Detwiler surrendered three runs over five innings in Colorado but did not get a decision in a 5-4 win.
"There's always just a little hesitation there, but I was just trying to go out there and attack it (the strike zone) as much as I could," Detwiler told the team's website. "We got through the first one, now hopefully we can relax and I can get back into the form I was in before."
Detwiler's teammates have supported him with two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts. That's a big reason why he has only one win over that stretch, a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on May 10.
Detwiler is 2-4 with a 4.24 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies but has had vastly different performances in his team's wins and losses versus its NL East rivals. He is 2-0 with a 0.46 ERA in three victories and 0-4 with a 7.84 ERA in five defeats.
The Nationals are hoping to get Denard Span back from a sore right foot Tuesday. He's batting .359 (14 for 39) in nine games against Philadelphia and is 7 for 20 (.350) all-time versus Lee. However, he hasn't faced the left-hander since the 2010 season, when both players were in the AL.
Span's former Minnesota teammate, Ben Revere , is batting .432 (16 for 37) in an eight-game hit streak for Philadelphia.
The Phillies activated catcher Carlos Ruiz from the disabled list after he had been sidelined with a hamstring injury since May 20.
|June 03, 2013||Danny Espinosa||15-Day DL||Broken bone in right wrist|
|June 01, 2013||Stephen Strasburg||15-Day DL||Strained right latissimus dorsi|
|June 01, 2013||Stephen Strasburg||15-Day DL||Strained right latissimus dorsi|
|May 27, 2013||Bryce Harper||15-Day DL||Left knee bursitis|
|May 26, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left game - Sore left knee|
|May 24, 2013||Danny Espinosa||Day-to-Day||Broken bone in right wrist|
|June 16, 2013||Jeremy Horst||15-Day DL||Strained left elbow|
|June 09, 2013||Erik Kratz||15-Day DL||Left knee injury|
|May 22, 2013||Chase Utley||Day-to-Day||Sore Ribcage|
|May 21, 2013||Chase Utley||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Howard||Day-to-Day||Sore left knee|
|May 20, 2013||Carlos Ruiz||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Cliff Lee is doing his best to stay in Philadelphia and turn the Phillies into a contender.
Lee struck out nine in eight impressive innings, Michael Young tied a career high with three doubles and the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Tuesday night.
Lee (9-2) allowed two runs and five hits to win his fifth straight decision. The three-time All-Star lefty lowered his ERA to 2.53 and helped the Phillies move into a second-place tie with the defending NL East champion Nationals.
With the trade deadline approaching, Lee is constantly mentioned as one of the best pitchers available if the Phillies decide to unload salary. Lee already has been traded twice in July during his career and once after the season by the Phillies.
"I want to win. I signed to win here," Lee said, reiterating a comment he made last week in Minnesota. "If that was misconstrued that I want to play someplace else, that's not the case. I want to play here."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said he's not looking to trade Lee and rather he wants to add players to help the team make a postseason run.
"If we play fundamental baseball and everyone plays up to their capabilities, we can beat anybody," Lee said.
Jayson Werth and Jeff Kobernus hit solo homers for Washington.
Ross Detwiler (2-5) took the loss in a game that started one hour, 10 minutes late because of rain. He allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.
"Detwiler was matching Lee pitch for pitch until the sixth," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He was throwing the ball good."
The Phillies have won two in a row over the Nationals after returning from a 3-7 road trip that left them four games under .500.
Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 14th save a night after blowing his first of the season and then getting the win.
It was 1-all going into the bottom of the sixth before Ben Revere started it with a bunt single. Young then lined an RBI double down the right-field line to give the Phillies the lead. Jimmy Rollins followed with a single and Ryan Howard was hit by pitch to load the bases.
Detwiler struck out Domonic Brown and Delmon Young before Kevin Frandsen hit a two-run single to make it 4-1.
"You come up with two outs and the bases loaded, you have to get in a good count," Frandsen said. "I got it to 2-0 and got a pitch to hit."
Kobernus connected as a pinch-hitter in the eighth for his first career homer to cut it to 4-2.
Werth lined a shot out to left to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the fourth. A Nationals fan secured the ball in the stands and wouldn't throw it back on the field as Phillies fans have been doing since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004. The fan drew some boos that weren't as loud as the ones Werth receives whenever the Nats visit.
Werth helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series and hit 36 homers for them when they won the NL pennant in `09, but he left for a $126 million, seven-year deal after the 2011 season.
Michael Young hit a double to start the bottom of the fourth, advanced on Rollins' sacrifice and scored on Howard's sacrifice fly to tie it at 1.
"Looks like his bat is a little quicker," manager Charlie Manuel said of Young. "He expects a lot out of himself and he wants to do more. He's starting to relax."
Lee nearly gave himself a lead in the fifth on a two-out single, but center fielder Denard Span threw out Delmon Young trying to score.
"I love playing behind Cliff," Michael Young said. "He loves to have the ball in his hands, he loves to compete and he can hit."
NOTES: Phillies C Carlos Ruiz was activated from the disabled list after missing four weeks with a hamstring injury. He went 1 for 3. ... RHP Carlos Zambrano tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing five hits for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Zambrano could make his next start for the Phillies. ... Howard's sacrifice fly gave him 957 career RBIs, tying him with Sam Thompson for fifth on the Phillies all-time list. ... Kobernus' homer was Washington's third by a pinch-hitter. ... Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.40) goes for the Nationals against Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 3.76) on Wednesday night.