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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, July 12 (All times Eastern)

Washington Nationals (49-42) at Philadelphia Phillies (42-51), 7:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 3.47) Philadelphia - Cole Hamels (3-5, 2.87)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Phillies will try to stretch their winning streak to a season-high six games in a row on Saturday evening when they resume a three-game set with the Washington Nationals.

Philadelphia took last night's opener 6-2 as Jimmy Rollins homered twice and A.J. Burnett scattered a pair of runs over 7 2/3 innings. Burnett worked around five hits and four walks while striking out six.

"Burnett has been a steady force, he's been a leader, he's been a veteran guy, he's been a workhorse. He really seems to be getting better, pitching quality games and continuing to do that," said Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg.

Domonic Brown added a two-run double for the Phillies, who returned home after sweeping four games at NL Central-leading Milwaukee. They matched a season best with their fifth straight win for set from June 16-20.

It was nothing but bad news for the Nationals, who saw All-Star pitcher Jordan Zimmermann exit in the fourth inning with a right biceps cramp. He allowed four runs on six hits in 3 1/3 frames before leaving.

"We'll know more (Saturday)," said Nationals manager Matt Williams. "Certainly it's always a concern when you have to take a guy out of the game. We'll get more results (Saturday)."

Bryce Harper homered in defeat, while Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games with a leadoff single in the fifth.

The Nationals have dropped three of four, but remained in a virtual tie with the Atlanta Braves atop the NL East.

Getting the call tonight for the Phils is Cole Hamels, who won for the first time in six starts (0-2) with a 3-2 decision over Milwaukee on Monday. He scattered two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits and two walks in 6 2/3 frames of work, recording seven strikeouts.

Hamels, a 30-year-old southpaw, is just 3-5 on the year despite a 2.87 earned run average. He will face the Nationals for the first time in 2014 and is 15-6 against them in his career with a 2.58 ERA.

Stephen Strasburg looks to keep going in the right direction tonight for the Nationals.

The right-hander has given up three runs over his last two starts since yielding seven over 4 2/3 frames in a setback to Milwaukee on June 25. Two of those came in Monday's no-decision versus Baltimore as Strasburg lasted seven frames and struck out nine.

Strasburg is 7-6 with a 3.47 ERA on the year and struck out 11 batters in a win over the Phillies on June 4. He was charged with four runs -- two earned -- over seven frames, moving to 3-1 lifetime against Philly with a 2.32 ERA.

Washington had won four of six over Philadelphia this season coming in, including a three-game sweep at home from June 3-5.

07/12 10:49:46 ET

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