On June 14, Nationals catcher Brian Schneider went 0 for 3 in a win over the Angels, dropping his average to .239. Since that game, Schneider has been on something of a tear, one that culminated in a 4-for-4 night Monday against Colorado, and had Schneider in the fifth spot for the first time all year last night against the Rockies.

"People ask me, 'What are you doing different?' " Schneider said before last night's game. "It's not like I'm doing anything different mechanically. The mental approach just has to be the same. I'm just trying to get a good pitch to hit and trying to stay with that and be patient."

That approach has helped Schneider go 29 for 79 (.367) since June 15, a period when he slugged .544. After going 1 for 2 with an RBI last night, his average is at .283. Prior to this year, he was a .252 career hitter.

"I'm just trying to stay out of those [no-hit] nights that kill average," he said. "I'm not a numbers guy. If I keep this approach, they'll be there at the end of the year."

Eischen Happy With Outing

In the debacle that was Monday's 5-4 loss to the Rockies, it was easy to overlook that reliever Joey Eischen pitched effectively for the first time in more than two weeks. Forget that Eischen allowed two runs in his three innings of work. One came on a dropped fly ball by outfielder Preston Wilson that was ruled a triple.

"I had fun out there," Eischen said. "I hadn't had much of an opportunity to pitch, and I finally did, and it felt good."

Byrd's Stolen Car Is Found

Outfielder Marlon Byrd said authorities found his car, stolen from the RFK Stadium lot during a road trip in June, and it is in an impound lot in Maryland. Insurance adjustors are determining when and if he'll get it back. Asked if it made him feel any better about the incident, Byrd said, "Not at all." . . .

Closer Chad Cordero will appear at the ESPN Zone downtown from noon to 1 p.m. today for a question-and-answer session, after which he'll sign autographs.