Nats look to leave Denver with win behind Olsen Sunday

The Nationals will attempt to even up the four-game set with the Rockies in the final game of the series Sunday at Coors Field in Denver.

With a win, the Nats would be 4-3 on the nine-game road trip. Two wins in both New York and Denver would be big before a pair in St. Louis to wrap up the trip.

This is another opportunity for the Nats to separate themselves from 2009. But they need to get some early offense against the Rockies today, who have pretty much shut down the Nats since Thursday's season-high 14-run outburst.

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The Nats steamrolled the Rockies 14-6 on Thursday. Then Saturday, the Rockies swept a pair from the Nationals 6-2 and 4-3.

The Nationals reportedly designated outfielder Willy Taveras for assignment and recalled infielder/outfielder Mike Morse from Syracuse. Morse was recovering from a calf strain.

The Nationals have hit at least one home run in the past 12 consecutive games which is a current Major League-leading streak.

Ryan Zimmerman has been scorching the ball in the series so far in Denver. Zimmerman has gone 8 for 13 with two homers, four runs and seven RBI.

Adam Dunn hit homers in both games Saturday and now has three dingers in his last five games.

Left-hander Scott Olsen (2-1, 3.51) takes on another southpaw in Jeff Francis. Olsen has been outstanding recently for the Nats and would love to bounce back against the Rockies, after suffering his shortest outing against them a few weeks ago at Nats Park.

In his last start, he was very good again. Olsen went 5 and 1/3 innings against the Mets, scattering nine hits, two runs, one walk and two strikeouts on 82 pitches, 55 for strikes. He was visibly upset after being pulled in that game. Maybe he knew something. The Nats led 6-1 when he left. The Mets came back to win the game 8-6.

Olsen's best game was May 6 when he came within five outs of a no-hitter against the Braves. Olsen allowed just one earned run over 7 and 1/3 innings with just two hits, one walk and 8 strikeouts in 97 pitches, 65 for strikes.

Francis will be making his 2010 debut for the Rockies. He has been dealing with soreness in his pitching shoulder since spring training. Francis missed the entire 2009 season after injury on that same shoulder. It is his first regular season appearance since September 12, 2008.

The Nats have not had a .500 or better record against the Rockies for a season series since 2005 (4-2). From 2006 through 2009, Colorado led the series 22-6.

The Nationals head to St. Louis after the game for two against the Cardinals before returning home Wednesday night against the N.Y. Mets.

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