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Dunn running out of time

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Who says this last weekend of baseball means nothing for the Washington Nationals? For one thing, the Nats are playing like their lives depend on it, carrying a four-game winning streak into tonight’s 7:35 p.m. game against the Braves.

For another, Adam Dunn has three days left to try to sustain his streak of 40-homer seasons. He’s been stuck on 38 since Sept. 23, which coincidentally is the last day he recorded a hit. Dunn is 0 for his last 26, a slump that has dropped his average from .280 to .266. Obviously, he hasn’t hit any homers during that span, either, putting pressure on him to rediscover his stroke this weekend.

Dunn is attempting to become only the fourth player in MLB history to hit 40 homers in six consecutive seasons, joining such illuminaries as Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa. Not that two homers are going to make or break what has for the most part been an impressive season for Dunn, but that’s a pretty exclusive group and one he’d like to be a part of.

Dunn faces a tough challenge tonight. Braves starter Derek Lowe has owned him over his career (3-for-22 with one RBI). Then again, Lowe pretty much owns all the Nats, aside from Cristian Guzman (12-for-31), who is limited to pinch-hitting duties because of a bum shoulder.

Here are tonight’s lineups…

NATIONALS

CF Justin Maxwell

RF Elijah Dukes

1B Adam Dunn

3B Ryan Zimmerman

LF Josh Willingham

SS Ian Desmond

2B Alberto Gonzalez

C Wil Nieves

P Livan Hernandez

BRAVES

CF Nate McLouth

2B Martin Prado

3B Chipper Jones

1B Adam LaRoche

LF Garret Anderson

SS Yunel Escobar

RF Omar Infante

C David Ross

P Derek Lowe

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Mark Zuckerman

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