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Padres-Nationals Preview

After watching his brother beat his team, Joe Ross has a chance to make this a very good couple of days for the Ross family.

He'll will try to pitch the Washington Nationals to a fourth win in five games Thursday night against the San Diego Padres.

The Nationals were denied a fourth straight win Wednesday, falling 6-5 as San Diego's Tyson Ross allowed four runs over 6 1-3 innings to earn the win.

Now, he'll watch his younger brother take the mound for Washington (63-62), which dropped 6 1-2 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.

"You know it's going to be fun to watch that game (Wednesday)," Tyson Ross said. "I hope my brother does well and I think he said it best when he said I hope he pitches well and we beat the bullpen."

Joe Ross (4-5, 3.56 ERA) is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA, 26 strikeouts and one walk in 26 2-3 innings over his last four home starts.

The rookie right-hander is facing the Padres for the first time after turning in seven strong innings Saturday, yielding one run in a 6-1 win over visiting Milwaukee. He lost his two previous outings on the road with a 9.35 ERA, failing to complete the fifth inning in both.

"Used my changeup a lot more," Ross said of his improvement against the Brewers. "I didn't throw it a ton, but definitely threw it more than I have the past few games."

He'll try to slow down Justin Upton, who had two homers and three RBIs Wednesday. The left fielder is 6 for 18 with three doubles and five RBIs in the past four games.

Wednesday's victory was the 10th in 14 games following a six-game skid for San Diego (62-64), which has a chance to win a fifth straight series - its first against the Nationals since May 2011.

"That's the goal from day one of the season to try and win each series and we've done a good job of it lately," Upton said.

Andrew Cashner (5-12, 4.03) attempts to win back-to-back starts for the first time this year. The right-hander allowed one unearned run with eight strikeouts in six innings of a 9-3 victory over St. Louis on Friday.

Cashner, though, is 0-3 with a 5.44 ERA in eight road starts since beating the Los Angeles Angels on May 27. He's walked 24 and struck out 26 over 46 1-3 innings in those games.

Cashner is 0-3 with a 4.95 ERA in his last four starts against the Nationals, losing both visits to the nation's capital while surrendering 10 runs in eight innings.

He's has had a tough time with Denard Span and Jayson Werth, who are a combined 9 for 23 against him.

Span had a pair of doubles Wednesday after going 0 for 4 in the series opener following a seven-week stint on the disabled list for back tightness. He's 8 for 23 in five games against the Padres this year, while Werth is 1 for 8 in this series.

Bryce Harper is batting .407 with five doubles in seven games after going 2 for 3 with two RBIs Wednesday. He's a .434 hitter with 20 RBIs in 15 career contests with San Diego, and is 11 for 18 while driving in eight runs in the last five.

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