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Three home runs help Nationals beat Orioles

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- After a frustrating loss to Baltimore on Monday night, the Washington Nationals put everything together on Wednesday and earned a satisfying road victory over the Orioles.

Catcher Wilson Ramos, shortstop Ian Desmond and right fielder Jayson Werth each hit solo home runs in Washington's 6-2 victory at Camden Yards.

Nationals manager Matt Williams liked how his team bounced back after the Orioles scored six runs in the 11th inning for an 8-2 victory in Washington on Monday night, before a rainout the next night.

"They were all chomping the other night, and it just didn't happen for us," Williams said. "To come back and then respond like they did tonight is a great sign. I think everybody played really well."

The Nationals (49-40) came up with a good mix of power, pitching and defense to snap Baltimore's three-game winning streak.

They finished with the three homers and got a solid seven-inning effort from starter Doug Fister, along with good defense, especially from third baseman Anthony Rendon.

"We hit some balls hard, we made some great plays," said first baseman Adam LaRoche, who drove in two runs. "Doug did a really good job against a really tough lineup. We just took advantage of some of their mistakes."

Fister (8-2) gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings and battled his way out of a few jams. He needed 31 pitches to get through the first inning but fared better after that.

His teammates helped with two double plays and some good work on defense. Fister improved his career record to 52-52.

"There were some pitches that were close (early)," Fister said. "I kind of yanked on a few. They may put the ball in play, and put in play hard, but that's why I've got defense."

The biggest play on defense might have come in the sixth with Fister and Washington holding on to a 4-2 lead.

Baltimore (49-41) put runners on first and third with one out when catcher Caleb Joseph hit a shot toward third that Rendon scooped up and quickly turned into a 5-4-3 double play.

The victory, combined with Atlanta's 4-1 loss to the New York Mets, gave the Nationals (49-40) a one-game lead over the Braves in the National League East.

Baltimore retained a 2 1/2-game lead in the American League East because the Toronto Blue Jays lost 8-7 to the Los Angeles Angels.

Werth and LaRoche each finished with two RBIs, while Ramos and Desmond each got one apiece. Washington scored five runs off Orioles starter Bud Norris (7-6), who lasted just four-plus innings in his first start since coming off the disabled list.

Norris, who had been sidelined due to a groin strain, gave up five runs and six hits, including two homers, as his four-game winning streak ended. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the right-hander was a bit rusty.

"It's obviously some of it," Showalter said. "As much as you do side work and (simulated) games and stuff like that, there's no substitute for the adrenaline and the challenge of facing major league hitters, especially ones as good as Washington has, so it will get better."

Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado homered and went 3-for-4. He is 8-for-10 in the series -- including a 5-for-6 effort in Monday's win -- and raised his average to .269, an increase from .239 in the four games since he returned from a five-game suspension.

"I feel fine at the plate, seeing the ball well," Machado said. "I am just trying to keep this going."

The Nationals took a quick 2-0 lead thanks to three consecutive hits in the top of the first inning.

Rendon doubled with one out, and Werth followed with an RBI double. LaRoche then lined a single to right, and Werth beat right fielder Nick Markakis' throw home for the second run.

The Orioles cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning when first baseman Chris Davis delivered a two-out RBI single. The Nationals answered in the second when Ramos lined a solo homer that gave them a 3-1 lead.

Desmond made it 4-1 with his solo homer in the top of the fourth. Desmond and Ramos homered on 1-2 pitches from Norris.

Machado hit a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth before LaRoche's sacrifice fly in the fifth made it 5-2. Werth's homer in the seventh gave Washington a 6-2 lead.

NOTES: Two Orioles in the starting lineup reached milestones Wednesday night. RF Nick Markakis played in his 1,300th career game, and SS J.J. Hardy played in his 1,200th. ... Manager Buck Showalter said the Orioles could add a reliever -- and maybe option a starter -- for the start of the series against the New York Yankees on Friday. ... Playing in an American League park helped Washington 2B Danny Espinosa get his first start since June 27. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. Manager Matt Williams moved 3B Ryan Zimmerman to DH and shifted Anthony Rendon from second to third, which opened the door for Espinosa. ... Williams said moving RHP Tanner Roark back to start Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies instead of starting him Wednesday kept LHP Gio Gonzalez and everyone else in the rotation on normal rest. The skipper also said the Nationals could use Roark out of the bullpen the next few days if needed.
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