Sports

Nationals eye another series win vs. Phils

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Nationals target their eighth straight series win Saturday in the second installment of a three-game set versus the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Nationals took Friday's opener 2-1 behind a strong pitching performance from Max Scherzer, who delivered eight innings of one-run ball and allowed four hits with six strikeouts and a walk.

Scherzer has won four straight starts.

"He threw a great game tonight," Nationals slugger Bryce Harper said about Scherzer. "It's so impressive to see him go about his business."

Harper homered and Ian Desmond put Washington ahead for good with an RBI double in the sixth inning. Harper has gone deep 11 times in the last 14 games for the Nationals, who have won six in a row and 15 of 18 games.

Stephen Strasburg gets the call for Washington Saturday and he is 3-4 with a 5.98 earned run average in eight starts. He ended a two-game slide in Sunday's 10-5 win at San Diego and yielded three runs over five innings, striking out seven batters and walking just one in the process.

Strasburg has walked only one batter in three of his last four starts and defeated the Phillies on April 19 in a 4-1 decision, charged with one run in 7 1/3 innings. The right-hander has pitched well in his career against Philadelphia and is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 12 starts.

The Phillies have lost two straight and three of four games after winning six in a row and dropped to 2-3 on a 10-game road trip.

Sean O'Sullivan pitched well in defeat and gave up two runs in six innings.

"Definitely a confidence builder," O'Sullivan said. "It feels good to take the mound and have my team feel like we got a chance to win that day."

Odubel Herrera drove in a run and Chase Utley posted two of Philadelphia's six hits on the night.

Philadelphia, which is scheduled to visit the New York Mets on this trip, will send Cole Hamels to the mound Saturday afternoon. Hamels has a 4-3 record and a 3.24 earned run average in nine starts and shoots for a third consecutive win. He defeated Colorado at Coors Field on Monday and tossed 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 4-3 triumph.

The left-hander and 2008 World Series MVP has allowed four runs in his last three starts and is 0-1 in two appearances against the Nats this season. Hamels has made 34 starts in his career against Washington, going 15-9 with a 2.72 ERA.

The Nationals are 5-3 against the Phillies this season.