The New York Yankees attempt to extend their season-best winning streak to eight games this afternoon when they continue a three-game series with the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
New York continued to dominate the National League East in Friday's opener, as Phil Hughes piled up a season-high nine strikeouts in the Yankees' 7-2 victory.
Curtis Granderson homered and knocked in three runs for New York, which gave manager Joe Girardi his 500th career win and improved to 7-0 versus the NL East this season.
The Yankees also broke Washington's season-best six-game victory surge and have won 15 of their last 18 interleague games dating back to last season.
Hughes (7-5) was charged with six hits and a run over six innings. The righty is 4-0 over his last five starts.
"(Hughes had) good command of his fastball and expanded with his breaking ball," Girardi said. "That's the key for him. He's done a good job of that, got some strikeouts when he needed to. For the most part, he executed his pitches."
Gio Gonzalez (8-3) had eight strikeouts, but surrendered five hits and three runs over six-plus innings.
Today, New York will rely on lefty Andy Pettitte, who has pitched well after ending his one-year retirement. Pettitte did not get a decision on Sunday versus the Mets, as he surrendered two earned runs in six innings. He also struck out eight.
Pettitte, who is 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA, caused a bit of a scare when he used his bare hand to snag a comebacker to the mound. He stayed in the game, though, and later X-rays showed just a bruise.
"It hurt immediately," Pettitte said. "I was like, 'Oh, no,' right when it hit my hand. I probably shouldn't have done that."
Pettitte has faced the Nats six times and is 3-1 against them with a 4.29 ERA.
Heading to the hill for the Nationals this afternoon will be flame-throwing righty Jordan Zimmerman, who is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA. Zimmerman did not get a decision on Sunday in Boston, despite a solid effort that saw him allow three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He also struck out seven in his team's eventual 4-3 win.
"Zim pitched one hell of a ballgame and I feel bad that we didn't get the win for him," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "It was another great ballgame. It was a strong game. In the seventh inning, he gave up two leadoff hits ... but he got us out of there with just one run. But I sure would have liked to have gotten the win for him."
This will be his first-ever start against the Yankees.
The Nationals have won four of seven meetings with the Yankees since moving the franchise from Montreal to Washington for the 2005 season.