June 23, 2014

MILWAUKEE -- The Washington Nationals will try to end their 10-game road trip on a high note and look to snap a seven-game losing streak Sunday afternoon when they wrap up a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

They'll have to do it, though, without right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who will miss his second consecutive start with tightness in his upper back.

The Nationals originally announced that Strasburg would return to the rotation Sunday, but he experienced discomfort during warm-ups Saturday afternoon. After Washington's 6-5 loss to Milwaukee, Baker said Strasburg would be scratched.

"He went down to warm up and felt it again, (in the) same area," Baker said.

Instead, right-hander Tanner Roark (6-5, 3.18 ERA) will make his 15th start of the season. He's coming off his first loss in nearly a month after allowing three runs, six hits and a walk with five strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.

"I felt strong throughout the whole entire game," Roark said. "It was one pitch, so usually it boils down to one or two pitches, and it was one pitch tonight."

Roark was on a roll before that, going 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in his previous six starts.

Milwaukee will counter with right-hander Jimmy Nelson (5-6, 3.80 ERA), who showed signs of snapping out of a June funk by holding the Oakland A's to a run, six hits and a walk in five innings in a 5-3 loss.

"I thought he got going there in the last couple of innings," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "The first three innings, he really had to work hard. He was behind a lot of hitters. But he made pitches when he to tonight. I thought he did a nice job. His command wasn't quite there yet but he got his way through it."

Nelson had been Milwaukee's best starter through the first two months of the season, going 5-3 with a 2.88 ERA in his first 11 outings. But in his first three June starts, he went 0-3 with a 9.69 ERA, allowing 14 earned runs in 13 innings.

After losing seven of eight to open a nine-game West Coast swing, the Brewers have won three straight overall. At home, they've won a season-high four straight and are fourth in the National League with 21 home victories this season.

"I think we've done a pretty good job here at home," Counsell said. "But we continue to do a nice job against starters -- particularly early in the game. Putting pressure on them and never letting them settle in. We've been good about that all year, at home and on the road."

A victory Sunday would give Milwaukee its first sweep of the Nationals since taking a three-game series at Miller Park on May 23-25, 2011.

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