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."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.