Nationals-Diamondbacks Preview

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.