What to Watch for: 5.3.13

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Washington Nationals (15-14) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (16-12)

LHP Ross Detwiler (1-2, 2.03) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (2-2, 2.83)

Dan Haren turned in his best start yet as a National as Washington earned a split of the four-game set in Atlanta with a 3-1 victory Thursday night. Nationals pitching has allowed just one run in the last 21 innings heading into tonight’s series opener in Pittsburgh, which will pit two of the top 20 ERAs in the league against one another with Ross Detwiler (ninth) and A.J. Burnett (20th) matching up.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Moore RF

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Detwiler LHP

ATTENTION SPAN

In Thursday’s win at Turner Field, Denard Span sparked the Nationals offense with three hits (two doubles, two RBI, a walk and a run scored). In so doing, he reached base four or more times for the 34th time in his career. Span’s teams are now 24-10 (.706) when he reaches base four or more times in a single game (1-0 with Washington, 23-10 with the Twins).

EXTRA, EXTRA

Nearly 30 games into the season, Ian Desmond has more extra-base hits (17) than singles (16). Desmond is one of only nine big leaguers with at least 100 plate appearances on the season to be able to stake this claim, joining Mike Napoli, Chris Davis, Justin Upton, Anthony Rizzo, Coco Crisp, J.P Arencibia, Adam Dunn and Chris Young.

NEW FRONTIERS AHEAD

The Nationals are 8-8 this season against NL East rivals after posting MLB’s top intra-division winning percentage last season (48-33, .593). Starting with tonight’s lid-lifter at PNC Park, the Nationals will play 18 straight games outside the division.

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