Washington's Jordan Zimmermann seeks to become baseball's second 10-game winner this season, but he has to find some success on the road Saturday evening when the Nationals resume a three-game set with the Cleveland Indians.
Zimmermann is 9-3 with a 2.00 earned run average in 13 starts this season, but all three of his losses have come on the road. He has a 3.09 ERA in six outings as the guest in 2013.
The right-hander, though, has won 11 straight decisions at Nationals Park, where he hasn't lost since May 17 of last year, a span of 18 straight starts. That includes a win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday as he hurled seven scoreless frames while scattering two hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
"It means I'm pitching pretty well, I'm going deep in the ballgame," Zimmermann said on Washington's official website. "I'm giving the team a chance. For the most part, they have scored quite a few runs for me."
The 27-year-old faces Cleveland for the first time looking to join St. Louis' Adam Wainwright as the only 10-game winners in baseball.
Like Zimmermann, Indians starter Scott Kazmir has pitched better at home than on the road this season and he tries to avoid a third straight setback tonight.
The 29-year-old southpaw dropped consecutive road outings to the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, allowing four runs over six innings in both starts. He now sits at 3-4 on the year with a 5.33 ERA in 10 starts.
Kazmir, who has never before faced the Nationals, is a perfect 3-0 in Cleveland this season, notching a 3.68 ERA over four starts.
Pitching dominated Friday's opener before the Indians secured a walk-off 2-1 victory thanks to the speed of Drew Stubbs.
Stubbs singled with one out off Fernando Abad in the ninth inning and was able to race to third when Michael Bourn followed with a single of his own. Bourn then stole second base, so Stubbs was free to take off on contact when Jason Kipnis hit a sharp grounder to first base.
Washington's Adam LaRoche made a diving stop and fired home, but Stubbs slide under the sweeping tag of Kurt Suzuki to give Cleveland its third straight win following an eight-game slide.
"Fortunately Stubbs got a good break because that was a heck of a play by LaRoche," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Washington's Gio Gonzalez and Cleveland's Justin Masterson matched each other on the mound, with both starters throwing seven innings and combining for 18 strikeouts.
The Nationals, though, had just two hits and had won four of five coming in.
"(Gonzalez) had great stuff and kept us in it. We just couldn't get it going," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of his team's offense.
Washington shortstop Ian Desmond had a career-high 15-game hitting streak broken.
Washington and Cleveland are meeting for the first time since the Indians took two of three matchups at home back in 2010.