(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves have a good shot at handing the Washington Nationals their seventh straight loss with Jair Jurrjens set to pitch this evening in the continuation of a three-game series at Turner Field.
Jurrjens is 3-1 with a 2.86 earned run average in eight career starts against the Nationals and beat them back on June 30 with five innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 victory at Turner Field. Jurrjens is aiming to get back in the win column after having a personal unbeaten streak halted in his previous outing.
The right-hander was 4-0 in seven starts before losing to St. Louis last Thursday at home, as Jurrjens surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in only 3 2/3 innings of an 11-4 blowout. He fell to 7-5 with a 4.53 ERA in 19 starts this season and suffered his first setback at home. Jurrjens is 6-1 over nine starts on the home mound.
Braves starter Derek Lowe felt right at home in last night's 4-0 win in the series opener. Lowe struck out a career-best 12 batters, including the 1,500th of his career, through eight shutout innings and scattered six hits to push his 2010 mark to 13-12. The righty did not walk a batter for Atlanta, which scored all four of its runs in the second inning and remained one game behind Philadelphia for the NL East lead. The Phillies beat the MarlinsMonday night.
"I think it means you've played a long time," Lowe said about the milestone strikeout. "It's one of things when you look back at the end of the season and the end of your career, and say 'yeah, it was pretty neat.' But with three more (starts) to go, your goal is try to keep pitching like this the rest of the year."
Billy Wagner struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the win, while Omar Infante had two hits and drove in a run and Nate McLouth added an RBI double for Atlanta.
The Braves have won three of their last four games and are an MLB-best 52-21 as the host this season.
Washington has lost six in a row since a three-game winning streak and couldn't get the bats going in last night's loss. Ryan Zimmerman and Nyjer Morgan both finished with two hits for the Nationals.
Nats young starter Yunesky Maya was dealt the loss after he yielded all four runs on five hits and three walks in six innings of work. Maya was making his second major league start and committed two balks in the second frame.
"He just flinched at little bit," Nats manager Jim Riggleman said of Maya's miscues on the team's site. "There was a little indecision...and instead of stepping off, he balked."
Riggleman will assign pitching duties to Livan Hernandez tonight, and the veteran is 9-11 with a 3.82 earned run average in 29 starts this season. He has lost back-to-back starts and is only 1-4 over his last five decisions. Hernandez lost to the New York Mets last Wednesday in a 3-2 setback, as he allowed three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
The big right-hander is 1-1 in three starts against the Braves this season and 6-16 with a 5.09 ERA in 31 lifetime meetings, 30 of which have been starts, with Atlanta. Hernandez is 3-7 in 15 career starts at Turner Field.
Atlanta leads the 2010 series with Washington by a 7-6 count and has won five of seven matchups as the host.