Nationals Vs. Orioles: Nationals Offensive Woes Continue Against Orioles In 2-1 Loss

Pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Chris Tillman both look for the series win between the two interleague rivals.

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Nationals Vs. Orioles Rivalry Still A Major Work In Progress

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles play a good game against each other, but the "Battle of the Beltways" has yet to live up to the rivalry it is meant to be.

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Nationals Vs. Orioles: Nationals Drop Final Game of Series To Orioles 2-1

The Washington Nationals began the Battle of the Beltway 2011 with lots of promise and offense. They finished with neither. The Nationals dropped the final game of a three-game series between the two teams by the score of 2-1 in what had to have been a heartbreaking finish for Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann.

Zimmermann went six-innings giving up two runs on four hits and striking out five. It was more than a serviceable performance and yet another positive outing for the young right hander. His only mistake was giving up a seventh-inning home run to Vladmir Guerrero. It shouldn't have been a mistake that caused so much problems it couldn't be overcome, but unfortunately Zimmermann had the Nationals offense trying to back him up: the one that doesn't seem able to score runs.

The only run of the game for the Nationals came off a fourth-inning RBI single by Alex Cora. After that, the Nationals could not get runs across the plate. The final two outs of the game came on Roger Bernadina striking out and Brian Bixler then caught trying to steal second. It was a miserable way to end an aggravating series that was more than potentially winnable by the Nationals.

Manager Jim Riggleman getting thrown out on the first at-bat of the game for disputing an out call on Roger Bernadina obviously did not have desirable effects.

The Nationals fall to 21-25 and are making themsleves a nice little nook in the cellar of the NL East. The Nationals are now four games under .500, a hole no Nationals team has been ever to climb out of to get to .500 again.

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Nationals Vs. Orioles Score: Nationals Leading Orioles In Close Game 1-0

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles have so far won one game each of the current three game series off the power of their bats. Sunday afternoon is turning out to be a day for the pitchers rather than high powered offense so far. The Nationals Jordan Zimmermann has held off the O's line-up giving up only one hit, while Chris Tillman of the Orioles has surrendered only one run in the game, but that run has put the Nats up 1-0 in the fifth.

The Nationals had two prime opportunities in the fourth, but only took advantage of one of them. Tillman loaded the bases with two outs and faced Alex Cora who ripped a ball right back to the mound. The ball bounced off the mound away from Tillman and the Orioles couldn't collect it as Jayson Werth scored and Cora collected an RBI single. This left the bases loaded again for center fielder Roger Bernadina, but he flew out to right field to end the inning.

It is a very close one in Baltimore so far with both teams looking to take the series in Sunday's rubber match. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman was ejected in the first-inning and is no doubt wishing he was out there to see this Battle of the Beltway through.

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Nationals Vs. Orioles: Nationals Go For Beltway Battle Win Against Orioles

Sunday afternoon will see the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles going head-to-head in the Rubber Match of the three-game series that constitutes the first Battle of the Beltway in 2011. The Nationals have won one game of the series off their offense and they have lost a game in part to their lack of offense. The Nats look to balance it out and leave Baltimore with a series victory.

Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (2-4, 4.13 ERA) will be pitching on some extra rest. His last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates was rained out and the very next day the Nats shuffled their rotation. Zimmermann hasn't pitched since May 12th against the Atlanta Braves, but remains unconcerned and appreciates the extra time off. Nationals.com:

"I feel fine with whatever decision they make," Zimmermann said. "It's probably better to get skipped now than toward the end of the season. If we are in the race or right where we need to be to make a push at the end of the season, that's the time I really don't want to be shut down. I want to be able to pitch, still have innings left and help the team out."

Zimmermann and the Nationals offense will face Baltimore's Chris Tillman (2-3, 5.35 ERA). For the first time this season both Nationals catchers will be in the line-up. Ivan Rodriguez will be behind the plate while his young apprentice Wilson Ramos will be replacing the struggling Matt Stairs at DH.

Baltimore currently leads the Battle of the Beltway series 17-15 since baseball returned to Washington. Sunday's first pitch will be at 1:35 P.M.

Nationals Line-Up

Roger Bernadina - CF

Ian Desmond - SS

Laynce Nix - LF

Jayson Werth - RF

Wilson Ramos - DH

Michael Morse - 1B

Danny Espinosa - 2B

Ivan Rodriguez - C

Alex Cora - 3B

Jordan Zimmermann - P

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