For Orioles, two out of three not bad

WASHINGTON - The Baltimore Orioles said they were happy to win a series in Washington.

They won the first two games of the three-game series with the Nationals by a run, and when the Orioles took an early three-run lead, the possibility of a sweep looked promising.

Washington scored nine unanswered runs, however, and beat Baltimore 9-3 on Sunday before a lively crowd of 41,918 at Nationals Park.

The so-called "Battle of the Beltways" drew large crowds with huge numbers of Orioles fans to D.C. Many of the fans adopted the Orioles during the more than three decades, Washington was without major league baseball, and have continued to root for them.

"We won the series, and we're happy about that," Adam Jones said. "We still won the series, but we're not content because we wanted the sweep."

Baltimore (27-15) won four of five games on the shortest road trip of the season.

Of the three games, Sunday's was the most anticipated. Wei-Yin Chen, who hadn't lost, was pitching against Stephen Strasburg, who shouldn't ever lose.

Neither pitcher had ever faced one of the opposing hitters, a rarity in the game.

Chen (4-1) had his worst outing of his nascent career. He allowed six runs and eight hits.

"I had a terrible day today," Chen said through his translator. "Today was all my fault because I couldn't command my pitches. That's it."

Strasburg allowed a run to the Orioles on Nick Markakis' RBI single in the first, and a two-base error by teenaged center fielder Bryce Harper led to two runs in the third.

Strasburg (4-1) and his bullpen shut the Orioles down as Chen allowed two runs in the third and back-to-back home runs in the fourth to Jesus Flores and Strasburg.

It was the first home run of Strasburg's career, and he enjoyed it, slowly trotting around the bases.

"He showed us some pop, didn't he? Hit a ball out of the yard, kind of surprised me," Chris Davis said.

Chen allowed another run in the fifth, and Washington (24-17) scored three more in the eighth.

The Orioles had no hits for 6 1/3 innings, until Jones beat out an infield single in the ninth to stretch his hitting streak to 12 games. Baltimore loaded the bases, but Nick Johnson hit into a double play to end the game.

The large crowds saw the Orioles win their sixth straight extra-inning game, all on the road, on Friday night. Jake Arrieta pitched seven excellent innings and Markakis hit an 11th-inning home run for the go-ahead run. And on Saturday, Jason Hammel took a 6-0 lead before weakening. Ryan Zimmerman hit a ninth-inning, two-out home run against Jim Johnson to close the gap to 6-5.

Hammel's right knee has been sore, and manager Buck Showalter said that Chen hurt his right wrist while batting, but it didn't seem to bother him.

"We scored three runs, and could have scored a lot more," Showalter said. "There are some good things that happened on this trip, but now we have to turn our thoughts to Boston."

NOTES: The Orioles open a three-game series with Boston on Monday night. Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta will face Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard. ... Dylan Bundy pitched five one-hit innings at Hagerstown on Sunday. Bundy has now thrown 30 innings for Delmarva, allowing no earned runs and five hits. He's struck out 40 and walked just two. Bundy is scheduled for one more five-inning outing for the Shorebirds and then will probably be promoted to Frederick. ... Matt Wieters, who is stuck in an 0-for-18 slump, didn't play. Wieters often doesn't play the day after night games. ... Strasburg's home run was the first hit by an opposing pitcher against the Orioles since Sept. 2, 1971. ... The Orioles struck out 33 times this weekend. Arrieta, Hammel and Chen combined to strike out six times in seven at-bats.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun