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Nationals Begin Series In Milwaukee

Washington Nationals (42-54) at Milwaukee Brewers (44-53), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Craig Stammen (2-4, 5.50) Milwaukee - Chris Narveson (8-6, 5.83)

(Sports Network) - The Washington Nationals hope to build off a very encouraging showing in their most recent series when the club travels to Miller Park tonight to start up a three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Washington enters this evening's tilt off back-to-back victories on the road over National League Central contender Cincinnati. After posting an 8-5 victory behind rookie Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday, the Nationals received an even better performance out of veteran Livan Hernandez to hand the Reds a 7-1 defeat in yesterday's finale of a four-game series.

Hernandez (7-6) went the distance on a seven hitter and did not walk a batter while striking out five to stop a two-start losing streak. The 35-year-old notched his first victory since June 21.

Adam Dunn helped Hernandez's cause by belting a two-run homer and Roger Bernadina added a solo shot for the Nationals, who had lost four of the first five tests of their current 10-game road trip before Wednesday's verdict. Nyjer Morgan and Adam Kennedy each contributed two hits and an RBI to yesterday's result.

"We needed to put a couple together, and especially against a ballclub as good as Cincinnati," said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. "We needed to win a couple. Not win a game and take a step back. We needed to show ourselves that yeah, you know, we can play with these other teams and put a few together and not win sporadically, but win more consistently."

Craig Stammen will try to give the Nationals another strong start when he takes the ball for tonight's opener. The right-hander has gone 0-2 over his last two mound trips, but did pitch very well in a hard-luck loss at Florida this past Sunday.

Stammen held the Marlins to a run on six hits and struck out six batters over six innings that day, but didn't get any support in a 1-0 setback. He's had trouble breaking into the win column all throughout this season, having notched just two victories in 16 starts in 2010.

The 26-year-old is 1-0 in two previous meetings with the Brewers, both of which took place last season, but was tagged for five runs and nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision at Miller Park on July 27, 2009.

Milwaukee returns home after going 4-4 on an eight-game road trip through Atlanta and Pittsburgh and ended the trek on a good note, coming up with a 3-2 triumph over the Pirates. Yovani Gallardo, making his first start since July 4, tossed six scoreless innings to lead the way.

Gallardo yielded five hits and walked just one while striking out five in improving his season record to 9-4. The All-Star right-hander had been sidelined for the past few weeks with a right oblique strain.

"[Thursday] I threw the ball pretty well," Gallardo said. "I just tried to stay in that rhythm. It's been a couple of weeks."

Rickie Weeks went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and Prince Fielder added a solo blast, his 24th of the season, to help the Brewers avenge two straight losses to the Pirates on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Chris Narveson will try to make it two in a row for Milwaukee this evening, and the left-hander also seeks to follow up a solid last start when he toes the rubber in the opener. The 28-year-old held Atlanta to a pair of runs on six hits over six innings this past Saturday to gain the win in the Brewers' 6-3 verdict.

Narveson, who had been tagged for 10 runs (nine earned) and served up three homers in only 3 1/3 innings in his final first-half start, a home setback to San Francisco on July 7, is now 8-6 with a 5.83 ERA in 15 starts and nine relief appearances this year. He's had trouble pitching at Miller Park, though, having compiled a 6.12 ERA in 11 appearances (seven starts).

This will be Narveson's first career encounter with the Nationals in a starting role, but he did earn a win over Washington with 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief last August at Nationals Park.

The Nationals took two of three from the Brewers at home from April 16-18, but have lost in nine of their last 11 visits to Miller Park.