(Sports Network) - It was the Tigers' Jeremy Bonderman who finished off a sweep of the Nationals when these teams last met three years ago. He will get a shot at doing it again this afternoon in the finale of a three-game series between Detroit and Washington at Comerica Park.
Bonderman faced the Nationals for the first and only time in his career on June 20, 2007 and gave up three runs over five innings of an 8-4 triumph. That victory completed a three-game sweep in Washington for Detroit, which is hosting the Nationals franchise for the first time since 2002.
Bonderman will hope for another victory today after seeing his winless stretch reach three games last time out despite pitching well and receiving a no- decision.
The right-hander, who is 0-2 with a 5.23 earned run average over his winless drought, allowed just two runs on six hits over seven innings on Saturday versus the Pirates and retired the final 12 batters he faced in a game his team won, 4-3, in extra innings.
The 27-year-old has allowed three runs or less in nine of his 12 appearances this year, including 11 starts, and is 2-4 on the season with a 4.21 ERA. Bonderman is also 1-2 with a 2.38 ERA in six home outings this year, all but one of those starts.
He'll try to pitch the Tigers to a sixth straight victory both overall and against the Nationals after Justin Verlander fired eight innings of three-run ball and struck out 11 in last night's 8-3 victory.
"I thought [Verlander] had a really good curveball tonight," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland. "He pitched extremely well against a good lineup. That's what you like to see from your horse."
Brennan Boesch scored twice and had three hits, one a three-run homer, and Gerald Laird drove in two runs for the Tigers, who have won seven straight at home and have matched their longest overall winning streak of the season. Detroit also won five straight from April 29-May 2.
Detroit, which remained 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota for first place in the American League Central, is expected to be without rookie Austin Jackson for a third straight game due to a back injury, while Johnny Damon is also expected to get a day off after going 0-for-10 in the first two games of this series.
That could be good news for Washington rookie Luis Atilano, who will look to shake off some bad luck from his last outing when he toes the rubber today.
Atilano lost his second straight start on Friday in his interleague debut versus the Indians, yielding six runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over five-plus innings. He was also tagged for three homers, one a three-run shot by Austin Kearns that came right after an error on a possible double-play ball that would have ended the inning.
The 25-year-old right-hander is 5-3 with a 4.34 ERA and faces Detroit for the first time. Atilano is also a solid 4-1 in six road starts with a 3.51 ERA.
Adam Dunn will try to back Atilano with some more power today after homering for the fifth time in eight games on Wednesday. Dunn is also hitting .379 (11- for-29) overall in that span.
Roger Bernadina also homered last night and is hitting .366 (15-for-41) in 13 games this month, but Livan Hernandez was tagged for eight runs -- four in the second inning -- over 6 2/3 innings in the loss.
"[Hernandez] just had a really bad second inning," said Washington manager Jim Riggleman. "I really don't know what happened ... he got out of sync and couldn't regroup."
Washington has lost four of its last five and is looking for its first win over Detroit since June 12, 2002 while still based in Montreal.