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Nationals Go For Two In A Row In Philadelphia

(Sports Network) - Roy Oswalt's Phillies debut versus the Nationals three weeks ago didn't go as planned, but the veteran now seems to finding his groove with his new club.

Oswalt goes for a third straight winning start this afternoon as Philadelphia aims for a series victory in the finale of a three-game set against Washington at Citizens Bank Park.

After being dealt from Houston, the 33-year-old suited up for the Phillies for the first time on July 30 versus the Nationals and took the loss, yielding five runs -- four earned -- over six innings, falling to 3-3 with a 3.72 earned run average in his career versus the Washington franchise.

Oswalt didn't factor into the decision of his next start, but picked up his first win in a Philadelphia uniform on Aug. 11 versus the Dodgers with seven scoreless innings. He made it two in a row on Tuesday versus the Giants, allowing three runs over seven frames to give him a 3.08 ERA in four starts with the Phillies.

Including his 20 starts with the Astros, the righty is 8-13 with a 3.36 ERA this year and is hoping to accomplish something special with the Phillies this year.

"This is what I missed," Oswalt told the Phils' website. "Hopefully something magical will happen this year and we'll get to the postseason and to the World Series."

A lack of run support hindered Oswalt in Houston and Philadelphia hasn't been much better. The Phillies have managed just two runs and eight hits over the first two games of this set, falling 8-1 last night after a 1-0 shutout victory on Friday.

Playing for the first time since Aug. 1 due to a sprained left ankle, Ryan Howard was activated from the disabled list and drove in the lone run. However, Kyle Kendrick allowed five runs over 5 2/3 innings to take the loss, Philadelphia's second in seven games overall and just its fourth in its past 22 games at home.

The National League Wild Card-leading Phillies still own a one-game edge over the Giants for that spot, while they also stayed 2 1/2 games back of the NL East-leading Braves.

After getting blanked on Friday despite 10 hits, the Nationals didn't have trouble scoring last night. They pounded out another 12 hits, getting a three- run homer from Roger Bernadina as well as a career high-tying four hits from Ian Desmond, who also scored twice.

"We played good. Desmond played another very good ball game, both with the bat and glove," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said.

The victory, just the fourth for Washington in its past 13 contests, was overshadowed by an injury to Stephen Strasburg, who left after 4 1/3 innings due to a strained flexor tendon in his forearm. The right-hander is scheduled to undergo an MRI today.

Scott Olsen hopes to snap a three-start losing streak today for the Nationals, a span in which he has pitched to a 10.95 ERA. The left-hander did pitch decent in his last outing on Tuesday against the Braves, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk over five frames of a 10-2 setback.

Olsen fell to 3-5 on the season with a 5.14 ERA and is set to face the Phillies for the second time in 2010. He squared off against them in Philadelphia back on April 15 and was charged with four runs over 5 2/3 innings of a no-decision.

In his career, the 26-year-old is 5-6 versus the Phils with a 5.37 ERA.

After going 39-15 over the Nats in the previous three seasons, including 20-7 at home, the Phillies have won just six of the 11 matchups in 2010, taking two of three at Citizens Bank Park from April 12-15.