They made it close. Trailing by six runs midway through the fifth inning, the Washington Nationals (23-17) had a lot of ground to catch up and they nearly did, before falling 6-5 to the Baltimore Orioles (27-14) in the second game of the weekend's Beltway Series on Saturday night at Nationals Park.
Washington did most of its work in the bottom of the sixth inning off Baltimore starter Jasom Hammel and reliever Luis Ayala, scoring three runs. And then, trailing 6-4, the Nats made it even closer in the ninth after Ryan Zimmerman, who had hit a double and a single earlier, launched a solo home run to deep left field, cutting the Baltimore lead to just one. Yet, facing Adam LaRoche in the next at bat, Orioles' closer Jim Johnson struck out the left-handed hitterto record the save and end the game.
The Nationals' starter Ross Detwiler, who was charged with the loss, struggled over the course of five innings, allowing nine hits and six earned runs. It marked his third loss on the season.
Sunday's series finale is slated for 1:35 p.m. EST.
We'll have plenty more on this series throughout the weekend here on SB Nation DC, so keep it locked to this StorySteam for all the latest news and updates as they become available. For more on this series and all things Washington Nationals baseball, please head over to Federal Baseball. You can also check out Camden Chat, SB Nation's Baltimore Orioles blog, for some perspective from the other dugout. As always, check out the SB Nation Major League Baseball hub page for more infer on this and all MLB series.