Span's 28-game hit streak longest in bigs this year
By Bill Ladson and Tom Schad / 9/18/2013 1:02 A.M. ET
WASHINGTON -- It turned out to be a big day for Nationals outfielder Denard Span, who extended his hitting streak to 28 games during a 4-0 victory over the Braves on Tuesday night, bypassing Colorado's Michael Cuddyer for the longest hitting streak in the Major Leagues this season.
"Cuddyer is my guy," Span said. "If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't have gotten an opportunity in the big leagues with him getting hurt. I have a lot to thank him for. He is having an incredible year. How about that? Two ex-Twins doing something special this year."
Span is also two games away from the team record set by Ryan Zimmerman and halfway to Joe DiMaggio's Major League record of 56 straight games.
"That shows what type of player [DiMaggio] was," Span said. "Twenty-eight days getting a hit feels like an eternity. But to do it for two months straight is unbelievable. It shows why he is one of the greatest players to ever play this game."
In his third at-bat against right-hander Freddy Garcia, Span singled to left field with one out. After Zimmerman struck out, Span stole second base, but he was left stranded when Jayson Werth flied to center field.
Span is aware that he is close to Zimmerman's record, but winning is more important.
"I really try not to think about it, to be honest," Span said. "We are playing good baseball and I think that has been more important to me than the hitting streak -- us winning games. I'm happy that I've been able to contribute to us winning some games."
In the first game of the day-night doubleheader, Span had reached 27 games and matched Cuddyer. With the Nationals holding a 3-0 lead, Span singled up the middle in the second inning.
During the 28-game hitting streak, Span is batting .378, with five doubles, two triples, two homers, nine RBIs and seven walks. He has raised his season batting average from .258 to .283 during the streak.
"Span is one of those guys who struggled at the beginning of the year. But he kept working his butt off," Zimmerman said. "To be where he is now, this is the kind of guy we know he can be. I hope he breaks the big record. I'll be rooting for him more than the guys in here. Anything over 20 games is impressive. ... He has been a really good player the last month, month and a half."
After throwing, Strasburg set for Thursday
WASHINGTON -- After missing his most recent start with right forearm tightness, Stephen Strasburg said on Tuesday that his bullpen session went well, and added that he will start Thursday against the Marlins.
Strasburg was one of a handful of players to travel to Nationals Park on Monday in the wake of the morning's shooting at the nearby Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters. The right-hander threw his scheduled bullpen session Monday afternoon.
"He feels great. We're by [his forearm issues]," manager Davey Johnson said. "We're set to go for [Thursday]."
Johnson said Friday that Strasburg felt the tightness after experimenting with a new pitch. Strasburg said the new pitch is "nothing crazy," and said he isn't sure whether it caused the injury.
"I think I was trying to stretch it a little bit too aggressively," Strasburg said. "I've been messing around with pitches all year. The trainer said when you try to stretch it too much, your body's natural reaction is to tighten up, which is what I was feeling.
"I know not to do it in September next year."
Desmond playing through tight hamstring
WASHINGTON -- Before Tuesday's doubleheader against the Braves, manager Davey Johnson said Ian Desmond is nursing a tight hamstring. Desmond was in the lineup for Game 1, but Johnson said the shortstop likely would not play in the second game.
"I think it's been something he's kind of been nursing," Johnson said. "You couldn't tell it by the way he's running. He's been on base a lot, goes out there for nine [innings]. So, hopefully he'll be all right."
Desmond has started all but three games for Washington this season. Johnson didn't know which hamstring was bothering him.
"I've known he's been a little tender for the last few days," Johnson said. "I saw him earlier all bundled up on the training table, so hopefully he's going to be all right."
• After starting 24 consecutive games behind the plate, the longest streak by a Major League catcher this season, Wilson Ramos was held out of the Nationals' nightcap against the Braves on Tuesday night. The Nationals went 18-6 during Ramos' streak.
• The Nationals celebrated Roberto Clemente Day on Tuesday night. Ryan Zimmerman, the team's nominee for the Clemente Award, was recognized before the second game of the doubleheader.