Nats welcome D'Backs to D.C.

The slumping Arizona Diamondbacks are lucky to still be game slide game series against the Washington Nationals.

After defeating the Philadelphia Phillies for their seventh straight win back on Aug. 16, the Diamondbacks have dropped five in a row to fall to 1-5 on their lengthy 10-game road trip. They are still 1 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco in the division, despite being swept in three games by Atlanta over the weekend.

Arizona suffered a tough 1-0 loss in Sunday's series finale, as Alex Gonzalez's solo home run in the third inning off of Josh Collmenter was all the scoring the Braves needed. Collmenter scattered four hits in seven innings to absorb the loss, falling to 7-8 on the year.

"Obviously we had a couple of chances to score some runs. The pitching did well for both teams. We just couldn't push that run or two across," said Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. "It's a long season, so you have got to let these losses go. When you get a big win you have to get over those too. It's just the way the game is."

Kelly Johnson had the lone extra-base hit with a triple for the D'Backs.

Taking the hill for Arizona tonight will be Joe Saunders. Saunders is 0-2 in his last three starts and was beaten by the Phillies in a 9-2 setback on Wednesday. He allowed five runs and five hits in six innings and fell to 8-10 in 25 starts to go along with a 3.91 earned run average. Saunders is 6-5 in 13 starts away from the desert this season.

The lefty defeated Washington in a 2-0 win on June 4 with seven shutout innings and five strikeouts. Saunders is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA in three career starts against the Nationals.

Washington took two of three from the Phillies at Nationals Park over the weekend and recorded a 5-4 win in 10 innings on Sunday. Ian Desmond sent the game into extra innings with a solo homer in the ninth inning off of Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Zimmerman came across for the game-winning run when Jonny Gomes was hit by a Brad Lidge pitch with the bases loaded.

"Bastardo and I go back a little bit," Desmond said. "Once he moved my feet on the pitch before I knew he was going to come back with it. I just wanted to catch it out in front, and fortunately I did and caught the barrel on it."

Zimmerman was 2-for-4 and now has now reached base safely in 27 consecutive games for Washington, which is 4-2 on a 10-game homestand. Danny Espinosa chipped in three hits and two runs batted in for the victors, while Sean Burnett collected the win with a scoreless inning of relief.

Chien-Ming Wang started for the Nats and allowed three runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings of work. Taking the mound tonight in Washington will be Ross Detwiler, who is 1-3 with a 2.87 ERA in nine games (4 starts). He has dropped three straight trips to the hill and was last in action during a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday, as the lefty tossed six innings of one-run ball and struck out seven batters.

Detwiler lost his only appearance against Arizona last August 5 at Chase Field, giving up seven runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in four-plus innings of an 8-4 loss.

Arizona and Washington split a two-game series in the desert from June 2-5.