Nationals-Diamondbacks Preview

The Washington Nationals won another series and continued to produce offensively, even with a more modest performance by Bryce Harper.

They’ll try to provide Max Scherzer with another solid backing as they open a three-game road series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night.

Washington (17-15) has won a season-high four straight and is averaging 6.0 runs with a .306 average and 16 homers while winning 10 of 12. The team had scored 3.5 runs per game while hitting .215 and totaling 16 homers during a 7-13 start. The Nationals, who have won their last four series, are also 12 for 27 with runners in scoring position over the last four.

Harper failed to homer Sunday against Atlanta after hitting six in his previous three games, but singled and doubled with an RBI. Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 13 games and put Washington ahead with an eighth-inning double in a 5-4 victory. Ramos is hitting .420 during the streak and is batting .385 with runners in scoring position this season, going 6 for his last 10.

"He has a knack for driving runs in because he stays in the middle of the diamond and goes the other way so well," manager Matt Williams told MLB’s official website. "He just stays on the ball so well. He has been swinging at strikes, being patient enough to get those pitches. He has delivered for us. He is playing well."

Ramos is batting just .217 in 16 games versus Arizona, though he has 12 RBIs.

Washington’s offense helped Scherzer (2-3, 2.11 ERA) avoid a third straight loss in Wednesday’s 7-5 victory against Miami. The five earned runs he allowed in seven innings were as many as he gave up in his first five starts for his new club. He received seven runs of support after being backed by 11 during a 1-3 start despite a 1.26 ERA.

Scherzer struck out 10 for the second straight game, however he gave up a home run for the second consecutive start after not allowing one in his first four. He also allowed 10 hits after limiting opponents to a .189 average through his first five.

He made his only start against the Diamondbacks in June 2010, while with Detroit.

Sunday was a good day for Arizona’s feast-or-famine pitching staff despite the fact it was a bullpen day. Five pitchers saw the mound with none throwing more than 3 1-3 innings. In the last 10 games, the Diamondbacks (14-16) have allowed either one or no runs in five wins and six or more in five losses.

Josh Collmenter (3-3, 3.40) gave up a season-high five runs and 10 hits, including three homers, in seven-plus innings of a 13-7 victory at Colorado on Wednesday. Run support hasn’t been an issue, as he’s been backed by nine-plus runs in three of his last four outings while receiving a total of two runs of support in his other three.

"It’s fun to see them continue to have good at-bats and put runs on the board," he said.

Collmenter didn’t record a decision in his lone start versus Washington last year, allowing four runs in five innings.

A.J. Pollock hit his second homer in three days Sunday and is 9 for 23 in his last six.

The Nationals went 6-1 against the Diamondbacks last year and have won 14 of the last 18 meetings.

Harper has never homered in 12 meetings and is 2 for 15 in five games in Arizona.