After an impressive series win over the major league’s top team, the Orioles will try to take advantage of a lowly Nationals pitching staff when the teams open a three-game interleague series Friday night.
Baltimore (40-37) collected 13 hits en route to an 11-4 win over the major league-leading Chicago Cubs on Thursday. It was the fourth time the Orioles have scored 10 runs or more this season, giving them their second win in three games versus the Cubs.
Baltimore, which is 24-4 when it has at least 10 hits, is the second team to win a series at Wrigley Field this season.
“One thing about our team is we won’t back down,” said Orioles manager Dave Trembley, whose team is 10-5 in interleague play and 14-9 this month. “We’re not intimidated. We have respect for the other team, but we also feel like if we do what we have to do, we’ll win.”
Now, Baltimore will face a Washington team that has a 4.61 ERA on the season. The Nationals (31-49) have a 5.29 ERA in their last 12 home games, losing nine of those contests.
Aubrey Huff and Brian Roberts, both coming off big games, will try to follow up in the series opener. Huff went 4-for-5 with two RBIs versus the Cubs, while Roberts had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
Huff, though, went 1-for-11 (.090) against Washington from May 16-18, when Baltimore won two of three games at home. Roberts hit .364 (4-for-11) in that series, and is batting .382 (21-for-55) during his streak.
The Orioles will be facing Nationals stater Odalis Perez (2-5, 4.09 ERA), who was activated from the disabled list Thursday. He had been out since June 11 with tendinitis in his left shoulder.
Perez was pulled after three innings in his last start because of the injury, giving up four runs - one earned - and five hits in Washington’s 6-1 loss to St. Louis on June 3.
The veteran left-hander’s worst start of the season was against the Orioles on May 17, when he allowed six runs and 11 hits in five innings in a 6-5 Nationals loss. He is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA in four career starts versus Baltimore.
Baltimore will counter with Daniel Cabrera (5-3, 4.46), who is 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA in four starts this month. The right-hander gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings as Baltimore lost 3-2 to Milwaukee on Saturday night.
Cabrera is 2-10 with a 6.11 ERA in 15 starts and one relief appearance in interleague play. He has lost both of his starts against Washington, posting a 12.54 ERA.
The Nationals had scored three runs or less in every game during four-game losing streak before snapping the skid with a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
Promising young catcher Jesus Flores lined an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the Nationals. Flores, 23, hit in the cleanup spot for the first time in his career.
“He doesn’t get rattled,” Washington manager Manny Acta said. “He doesn’t care who he’s facing or the situation. He’s got a tremendous knowledge of the strike zone (and) that gives him a chance.”