Dunn comes back to his mother city

Dunn comes back to his mother city

ATLANTA -- On July 20, 2001, Adam Dunn made his big league debut with the Cincinnati Reds. Over eight years and 300 home runs later, Dunn returns to Cincinnati as a visitor for the first time, as the Nationals begin a four-game set with the Reds.

Dunn, who is fourth on the Reds' all-time home run list behind Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson and Tony Perez, seems fairly nonchalant about returning to the city in which he spent the first eight seasons of his career.

"I don't know how it's going to be," Dunn said. "I won't really know until I get there. It should be interesting, though."

Dunn made a name for himself in Cincinnati, earning an All-Star nod in 2002 and dazzling fans with tape-measure home runs. In his first year with the Nationals, Dunn has continued to showcase his considerable power.

Entering Thursday's game, he has 30 home runs and 85 RBIs. He has been a fixture in the middle of a Nationals lineup that has proved it can put up some impressive numbers.

Despite the fact that he's returning to the only big league city he had ever called home before being traded to the D-backs on Aug. 11, 2008, Dunn seemed determined to approach this series the same as he would any other.

"I spent a lot of my career there," Dunn said. "It will be fun to get to play in that stadium again. I love that stadium."

There's little reason to suspect Dunn will earn anything other than a positive response from the crowd at Great American Ballpark, but Dunn says he isn't sure how he will be received when he returns in enemy colors.

"I have no idea," Dunn said. "I really don't know how they'll respond. I can't worry about that."

What Dunn can worry about is continuing the solid production he has been providing all season. His .281 average to this point is the highest of his career, and he hasn't sacrificed any of his trademark power.

After being swept in two games with the Braves, the Nationals hope to return to playing the kind of baseball that saw them reel off eight wins in a row before traveling to Atlanta.

As much as he contends he's not thinking about the circumstances of this weekend's series, Dunn knows that he will at least be thinking about his return a little bit, as he will relish the chance to see familiar faces.

"I'll get to see some people that I haven't seen in a long time that I used to see every day," Dunn said. "That will definitely be the best part."

Pitching matchup
WSH: RHP Collin Balester (1-1, 5.21 ERA)
It appeared as if it was going to be a bad night for Washington on Friday. Interim manager Jim Riggleman didn't want to use his bullpen early like he did on Thursday against the Marlins, but his wish didn't come true. Like right-hander Craig Stammen the previous day, Balester didn't have a good game against the D-backs. The team was down by five runs after 1 1/2 innings. Balester lasted 4 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on eight hits. Three of those hits were home runs Mark Reynolds, Josh Whitesell and Stephen Drew -- all of them coming in the second inning.

CIN: RHP Bronson Arroyo (10-11, 5.04 ERA)
Last Saturday against the San Francisco Giants, Arroyo pitched seven solid innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. It was his third straight quality start, though he is 0-2 over that span. The next hurdle for the veteran right-hander: shrinking his ERA below 5.00. That will certainly occur if his current stretch holds up. Arroyo won his lone start against the Washington Nationals in 2008 by tossing six shutout innings.

The Nationals' loss on Wednesday gave them their first series defeat since July 16-19 and snapped a streak of six consecutive series without a loss. ... Cristian Guzman's single in the third extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Entering Wednesday, he was tied with the Rockies' Todd Helton for the longest active streak in the National League. ... Ryan Zimmerman's first-inning single extended his hitting streak to 15 games. He is hitting .455 during the streak. ... After going on the disabled list on May 10 with a fractured right shoulder, catcher Jesus Flores will begin upper-body workouts after an MRI revealed the shoulder to be 100 percent healed.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WFED 1500, SBN 1390 (Español), ESPN 730 (Sp.)

Up next
• Friday: Nationals (Garrett Mock, 1-4, 6.14) at Reds (Aaron Harang, 6-13, 4.43), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Nationals (J.D. Martin, 1-2, 5.91) at Reds (Johnny Cueto, 8-9, 4.23), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Nationals (John Lannan, 8-9, 3.58) at Reds (Justin Lehr, 2-0, 1.80), 1:10 p.m. ET

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