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Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 7:05 PM ET
 

Phillies-Nationals Preview

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The Washington Nationals ended their losing streak and now appear to be facing Philadelphia Phillies ace Cliff Lee at an opportune time.

The Nationals look to hand Lee his fourth straight loss and send the visiting Phillies to their 16th defeat in 19 games Saturday night.

Behind home runs from Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman, Washington (55-60) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 9-2 win over Philadelphia in Friday's series opener.

Following a 2-6 stretch in which they averaged 2.5 runs and went 7 for 56 (.125) with runners in scoring position, the Nationals went 6 for 10 in those situations Friday.

"That's more like it. I can sleep now,'' said manager Davey Johnson after his club's rare offensive outburst.

Zimmerman (3 for 26), Ian Desmond (3 for 27) and Denard Span (0 for 17) had been mired in slumps before combining for four hits and three RBIs in the opener.

While they rank last in the majors with a .220 batting average against left-handers, the Nationals scored eight runs on nine hits in five innings against southpaw John Lannan.

They'll try to keep it going against Lee (10-5, 3.13 ERA), who has a 5.92 ERA over his last four starts.

The left-hander has 24 strikeouts over 24 1-3 innings during that stretch, but has allowed eight home runs after giving up that many over his previous 17 outings.

Lee will attempt to avoid losing four straight starts for the first time since July 6-26, 2007, and provide a lift for a Philadelphia (52-63) rotation that has a 6.79 ERA over the last 12 games.

After missing a start due to a stiff neck, Lee went five innings to match his shortest outing of the season and yielded four runs and eight hits in a 4-1 loss to Atlanta on Sunday.

He's split a pair of home starts versus the Nationals this season, allowing six runs and 14 hits while striking out 15 over 15 innings. The All-Star has surrendered six of his 16 home runs this season in those two outings.

Jayson Werth has done the most damage, going 3 for 6 with two homers in this matchup. He's also 18 for 37 (.486) over his last 13 games overall.

The Nationals counter with right-hander Taylor Jordan (1-3, 3.76), who has received four runs of support or less in six of his seven starts.

Following his first career victory in a 14-1 win over the Mets on July 28, Jordan went 5 1-3 innings and gave up four runs before leaving without a decision in an 8-5 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday.

He'll make his second start against the Phillies after he allowed four runs over 5 2-3 in a 4-2 road loss July 9.

Michael Young doubled off Jordan in that meeting and is 11 for 26 (.423) with six RBIs in his last seven games against Washington.

Teammate Chase Utley stayed hot with two hits Friday, leaving him 8 for 13 with three doubles and five RBIs in his last four contests.

The next win for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will be the 1,000th of his career.

Tagged: Nationals, Phillies, Cliff Lee

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