And not just Aug. 4, either, when they make up Tuesday’s rainout at Nationals Park.
“We love the competition, and we love the fact that you never know what could happen in October,” center fielder Adam Jones said after the Orioles beat the Nationals, 4-3, on Thursday. “You could have a 'Battle of the Beltways' when it’s a little colder and bring the fans back out.”
An announced 100,000-plus came out for the de facto three-game series, which began Monday in the nation’s capital and moved to Camden Yards on Wednesday and Thursday.
The atmosphere was most electric at Nationals Park, where a divided crowd exchanged cheers and taunts during an extra-inning affair.
The playoff-like environment showcased two division leaders, and ones with contrasting styles. The Nationals have a 3.07 team ERA, best in baseball, while the Orioles have 113 home runs, second most in the major leagues.
“I think it’s good for the DMV area that both teams are playing quite well, especially this late into the season,” Jones said. “That’s a good team. That’s a great pitching staff on top of baseball, if not the top. The bullpen’s electric. That’s a very good team, and so are we. You raise the competition. We love it.”
The Orioles have reached the 50-win mark in just 91 games, their earliest since their division-winning 1997 campaign. Thursday’s victory also moved them back to a season-high nine games over .500 and improved their all-time record against the Nationals to 28-21.
If both teams continue to excel during the season's second half, the possibility of more meetings will beckon.
“I personally enjoyed that series a lot, just [be]cause of the proximity and the atmosphere down in D.C.,” right-hander Darren O’Day said. “And they're top of the NL [East]. Hopefully we get to play them a few more times this year, later in the year in October. That would be nice.”