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O's still mired in offensive funk

BALTIMORE - The fans seem to enjoy the so-called "Battle of the Beltways." Huge crowds have attended the five games of the series, and the two at Oriole Park have featured excellent starting pitching as well as some slipshod fielding by the Baltimore Orioles.

On Saturday night, Edwin Jackson and three Washington National relievers held the Orioles to five hits in Washington's 3-1 win before 46,298.

Jackson (4-4) has allowed two runs in 14 1-3 innings to Baltimore in two games this season.

Wei-Yin Chen (7-3) has lost twice to the Nationals. The Orioles (40-31) have won the other three games that Chen hasn't pitched between the teams this season.

Chen cracked the fingernail of his index finger in the fourth inning on Jesus Flores' comebacker.

"He pitched pretty good. He should have given up one run," manager Buck Showalter. "He pitched well enough to win. We just couldn't do much with Jackson."

Baltimore has lost four of five, and scored just six runs in those games.

"We're in a funk right now but we'll bounce back. We're a good offensive club," Mark Reynolds said.

Chris Davis went 0-for-4, and he's now mired in an 0-for-28 quagmire.

"He's not by himself, OK?" Showalter said. "He's not by himself."

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the second. Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche led off with singles off Chen. Both runners moved up on Ian Desmond's infield out. With two outs, Xavier Nady grounded to third baseman Wilson Betemit. Betimit's throw bounced to Reynolds at first, allowing Morse and LaRoche to score.

LaRoche homered in the fourth, his 13th of the season, to make it 3-0.

Jackson retired the first 12 Orioles in a row. Leading off the fifth, Adam Jones reached on an error, and with one out, Betemit singled for the first hit. With two outs, Nick Johnson walked to load the bases.

Chen threw five innings. He allowed three runs - two earned - on six hits. He walked two and struck out four.

"Today, I didn't pitch good, and I didn't have good control and good command today, and they'll find out about it right away," Chen said through his translator.

The last time he faced Washington, Chen was hooked after 4 1-3 innings and six runs.

Double plays took the Orioles out of potential rallies twice in the late innings.

Jones led off the seventh with a home run to the left field corner for the Orioles' first run. It was his 19th of the season. With one out, Betemit and Reynolds singled, and Michael Gonzalez relieved Jackson.

Ronny Paulino batted for Johnson and softly lined to Desmond at short, who stepped on the bag at second, and Betemit was out.

Jackson pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing a run and four hits, striking out five and walking one.

In the eighth, Brian Roberts singled with one out and J.J. Hardy bounced into a double play.

NOTES: Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said team ownership has given him the green light to make deals that might add payroll."We're in contention. We need to look at all the options we have to help our team," Duquette said. "We have some pretty good options in our minor league system to bolster the team that we have here." Duquette spoke after he and Showalter spoke with season ticket holders during the annual "State of the Orioles" address. "We're in contention. We're going to do whatever we can to make the playoffs," he said. ... Dana Eveland will leave the team shortly so that he can be present for the birth of his second son in California. His child is due on Tuesday, and the Orioles will be able to replace him for three days while he's on paternity leave. ... The crowd was the Orioles' largest of the season.

, and their fifth sellout.

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