Energy 'contagious' for streaking Nats

Energy 'contagious' for Nats

WASHINGTON -- Ever since the Trade Deadline, when Washington released its veterans and acquired shortstop Alberto Gonzalez, the Nationals have been playing with a windfall of energy and a renewed sense of enthusiasm.

They picked up their first home three-game sweep of the season on Sunday, scoring 19 runs, while allowing just nine, and hitting .330 -- well above their season average of .240

Pete Orr talked about the change after Saturday's come-from-behind 10-6 win, saying that the Nationals are feeding off one another.

"If you don't get excited watching the last two games, then you're not a baseball fan," Orr said.

Orr added that the hustle of Gonzalez and new double-play partner Emilio Bonifacio -- recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Friday -- is starting to rub off on teammates.

"Everything carries over," Orr said. "You watch those guys play, you get excited, and when you get a chance to do something, you want to do it, too."

The change has not gone unnoticed in the front office, either, although general manager Jim Bowden didn't limit his praise to the newest Nationals. He credited young players across the roster for the club's new demeanor.

"It all feasts on each other," Bowden said before Sunday's game. "And I think the attitude has certainly changed, and I think our defense has gotten a lot better up the middle and I think our speed has gotten a lot better. And it's contagious."

Pitching matchup
WSH: RHP Tim Redding (7-6, 4.34 ERA)
Redding struggled through one of his worst performances this season on Wednesday against Philadelphia. The veteran right-hander lasted just four-plus innings, unable to get an out in a five-run fifth before being replaced by Steven Shell. Redding threw 73 pitches, 47 for strikes, and fanned one batter in the outing.

COL: RHP Aaron Cook (14-6, 3.53 ERA)
Cook has continued to push the Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb for the most wins in the National League. As a sign of his maturity, Cook regained his composure after a fifth inning that saw him walk the first two batters and give up four runs. He lasted through the seventh inning of a 7-4 victory over the Pirates. Cook returns to Coors Field, where he is 6-3 with a 3.43 ERA.

Tidbits
The Nationals scored 11 first-inning runs in their six-game homestand, including four multirun efforts in opening frames. ... Lastings Milledge has hit safely in six of his past seven games. He went 4-for-9 with two solo home runs in the Nationals' three-game sweep of the Reds. ... Reliever Charlie Manning hasn't allowed a run in his past nine outings, a total of 5 1/3 innings. He picked up his first career win on Saturday night against Cincinnati.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN

On radio
• WWWT 1500, SBN 1390 (Español)

Up next
• Tuesday: Nationals (John Lannan, 6-11, 3.61) at Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa, 5-6, 6.94), 9:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Nationals (Odalis Perez, 4-8, 4.16) at Rockies (Jeff Francis, 3-7, 5.67), 9:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Nationals (Jason Bergmann, 1-8, 4.33) at Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 8-9, 3.61), 3:05 p.m. ET

Zachary Osterman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.