Washington and Baltimore are less than an hour apart, but the Orioles are doing their best to prove they’re the team to watch.
Baltimore (20-22) tries to win two in a row over the Nationals when the teams continue their three-game interleague series on Saturday at RFK Stadium.
Rodrigo Lopez (1-6, 7.86) tries to avoid losing his sixth straight start when he takes the mound for Baltimore on Saturday. The right-hander is coming off his shortest outing of the season when he allowed eight earned runs and 10 hits—both season-highs—in an 11-1 loss to Boston on Monday.
“I was leaving the ball up, but besides that, I feel very confident,” said Lopez, who led the Orioles with 15 wins last season. “I’m trying to be the same guy I was before, but things haven’t worked out for me.”
Lopez is 4-7 with a 3.93 ERA in 12 interleague appearances, but has never faced the Nationals.
Tony Armas (4-2, 3.02) will try to win his third consecutive start when he takes the ball for Washington (14-28). The right-hander had his best performance of the season in Sunday’s 8-1 victory over Atlanta, pitching seven shutout innings and allowing just three hits.
“He just goes about his job,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “He seems to be getting better and better each time out. He has been pretty good from the beginning. He looked much more comfortable out there right now—less effort.”
In his only career appearance against the Orioles, Armas threw eight scoreless innings and gave up two hits in a 1-0 victory for the Montreal Expos on June 4, 2000.
Kris Benson pitched his sixth career complete game and Baltimore got 12 hits en route to a 5-1 win Friday in the first regular-season major league game between the cities since 1971.
Orioles center fielder Corey Patterson was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI and third baseman Melvin Mora was 3-for-5 on the same day he signed a three-year, $25 million contract extension that includes a no-trade clause.
Shortstop Miguel Tejada doubled in his third consecutive game and is batting .346 (9-for-26) during a seven-game hitting streak.
Baltimore has won five of seven games and snapped a five-game road losing streak.
The Nationals fell to 3-11 at RFK Stadium with the loss. Alfonso Soriano hit a home run in his second consecutive game to account for all the offense.
The Nationals have lost seven of their last nine games, and recorded just one run and 10 hits over their last three defeats.
“The entire lineup is not doing the job right now offensively. It hasn’t for some time,” Robinson said. “It’s not what the pitcher’s doing. It’s what we’re not doing.”