Dan Haren hasn't won back-to-back starts in almost three months for the Washington Nationals, who will resume a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday at Miller Park.
Haren won three straight starts from April 27-May 9, then suffered through a torturous 11-game drought, going 0-8 with a 6.18 earned run averaged in that time. The Nationals lost all 11 games, but helped the right-hander in last Saturday's 4-1 victory over the New York Mets.
The right-handed Haren struck out six and walked one batter over seven innings of one-run ball to improve to 5-11 in 19 starts with a 5.49 ERA. Haren is just 1-7 in 10 road assignments and 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in three career matchups (2 starts) with the Brewers.
Washington registered a 4-1 win Friday night for Haren's teammate, right- hander Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann pitched six shutout innings, fanned five batters and struggled with his command to the tune of four walks. He still managed to post his 13th win of the season (13-6).
"I had pretty good stuff," Zimmermann said. "I was able to get a few ground balls and some easy outs when I needed them."
Rafael Soriano retired the Brewers in order in the ninth to secure his 27th save.
Bryce Harper homered and Jayson Werth collected three hits for the Nationals, who bounced back from consecutive losses to Detroit and won for the fifth time in the last eight tries. Washington is 6 1/2 games off a wild card spot.
Milwaukee has lost two in a row since winning three straight.
Jonathan Lucroy highlighted the offense on Friday with a home run and reliever Alfredo Figaro was saddled with the loss for giving up a run in four innings.
Brewers starter Tom Gorzelanny left in the second inning after taking a line drive off his left elbow. The southpaw underwent X-rays, which were negative, and suffered a bruise.
"It's day to day, we'll see how he is tomorrow," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said on club's website. "Hopefully for us, obviously, he can make his next start, but I'm not sure."
Milwaukee's rotation is beginning to die off with injuries to Yovani Gallardo and now Gorzelanny, and it will be Donovan Hand's turn to take the mound. Hand will oppose Haren in Brew City and is 0-2 with a 3.56 earned run average in 17 games (5 starts). The former reliever allowed three runs in six innings of a 6-5 loss at Colorado on Sunday, but did not factor in the outcome.
Hand, a rookie right-hander, faced the Nationals in an 8-5 loss July 4 and gave up three runs in five innings for a no-decision.
The Nationals are 3-2 against the Brewers this season.