Series: Game 3 of 3

Washington won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, May 24
Game 2: Saturday, May 25
Game 3: Sunday, May 26

Phillies 1

(24-26, 13-14 away)

Nationals 6

(26-24, 14-10 home)

    Coverage:  FXFL/MASN

    1:35 PM ET, May 26, 2013

    Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. 

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    PHI 000000010 1 5 3
    WSH 00000051 - 6 10 0

    W: S. Strasburg (3-5)

    L: C. Hamels (1-8)

    Phillies-Nationals Preview


    The Washington Nationals' extended slump has left them on the verge of being caught for second place in the NL East by the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Washington will try to keep that from happening by sending a red-hot Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face the hard-luck Cole Hamels when the Nationals and Phillies close out their series Sunday.

    Philadelphia (24-25) bounced back from falling 5-2 in the opener Friday by winning 5-3 on Saturday. Domonic Brown had a home run and an RBI double as the Phillies won for the eighth time in 12 games.

    Since Philadelphia's surge started May 11, Washington (25-24) has dropped nine of 14, allowing the Phillies to pull within one game of the Nationals.

    "It's a big series, considering the time of year, for sure," Philadelphia third baseman Michael Young said. "I don't think anyone's under any illusions that this is going to decide who wins the division, but we're playing a very good club in their ballpark."

    Young and his teammates could face a major challenge against Strasburg (2-5, 2.66 ERA), who's gone 1-1 with a 0.90 ERA in his past three starts. The right-hander pitched seven innings and allowed one run with seven strikeouts in a 4-2 loss to San Francisco on Tuesday, though he didn't get the decision.

    While Strasburg has been dominant of late, he's had no success against the Phillies in his career, going 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA in three starts. He failed to pitch five innings of two of them, most recently giving up a career high-tying six runs in 4 1/3 innings of an 8-0 home loss July 31.

    Hamels (1-7, 4.45 ERA) has also been very good recently, giving up two or fewer earned runs in five of his last six starts, but going 1-5 in that span. He's lost his past four starts.

    The left-hander has received nine runs of support in the previous six outings and his 2.87 runs of support per game ranks among the worst in the major leagues.

    "You know it's tough on him ... it's got to be," said Brown, batting .400 with seven RBIs in his last five games.

    Hamels gave up two runs in six innings with 10 strikeouts in a 5-1 defeat to Miami on Monday.

    He might have a good shot to end his losing streak Sunday as he's 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 career starts in Washington. He's also gone 11-3 with a 2.18 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 120 innings in his past 18 overall starts against the Nationals.

    Jimmy Rollins, 8 for 24 during a five-game hitting streak, is 1 for 8 with a homer and four strikeouts against Strasburg.

    Ryan Howard's home run drought reached 13 games Saturday and he struck out in four consecutive at-bats as his five-game hit streak came to an end.

    Lack of offense has been the biggest culprit in Washington's slump, as the Nationals have averaged 2.8 runs during their 5-9 stretch. On Saturday, they collected 11 hits but went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on.

    "It's baby steps," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "We haven't been swinging the bats really at all. To put up 11 hits is good. Now the next thing we tackle is hitting with runners in scoring position."

    Leadoff man Denard Span has one of the few bright spots, as he went 3 for 5 on Saturday and is batting .345 over his last six games.

    Adam LaRoche is 3 for 7 with a homer and three RBIs in the first two games of this series. He's batting .320 with four homers versus Hamels.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakL1L1
    Last 102-85-5

    Pitching Matchup

    C. Hamels
    8-14, 3.60 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/25 at MIA
    6.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = ND
    S. Strasburg
    8-9, 3.00 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at ARI
    7.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    1. J. Rollins, SS D. Span, CF
    2. F. Galvis, 2B B. Harper, RF
    3. M. Young, 3B R. Zimmerman, 3B
    4. D. Young, RF A. LaRoche, 1B
    5. D. Brown, LF I. Desmond, SS
    6. K. Frandsen, 1B T. Moore, LF
    7. B. Revere, CF J. Solano, C
    8. H. Quintero, C S. Lombardozzi, 2B
    9. C. Hamels, P S. Strasburg, P