|Nationals look to sweep brief Beltway Series with O's|
The Washington Nationals got a good mix of pitching and timely offense in the first game of their Beltway Series in Baltimore against the Orioles, and they will look for some more when trying to finish off a sweep of the two-game set Wednesday night.
Rookie Austin Voth gave up just one run in six innings for his second major league win in the 8-1 victory Tuesday. Voth had been called up from Double-A Harrisburg earlier in the day.
Washington also used homers from Matt Adams and Juan Soto (both solo shots) in that win. The Nationals have been one of the hottest teams in baseball after slumping during May -- they've won 31 of their last 43 games since late May to join the fight for the NL wild-card spots.
"We're just kind of keeping rolling and (want to) keep it going, game by game," Adams said in an MASN postgame interview Tuesday.
The Nationals' offense suddenly awakened, and Washington's bullpen, inconsistent in the first two months, has been better since then, including throwing three shutout innings Tuesday.
The Nationals had been looking at starting Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday but instead moved him to Thursday for the first game of a four-series with NL East-leading Atlanta.
Instead, the Nationals are going to call up Erick Fedde and have him face Baltimore on Wednesday.
That is going to force Washington to make a move to clear a roster spot for Fedde. Voth could go back down, although the answer will come at some point Wednesday.
Fedde is 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA with Washington this season. This will be his first start with the Nationals since June 20, and he's needed because Max Scherzer (mid-back strain) is on the injured list.
Baltimore will counter with Aaron Brooks (2-3, 4.75 ERA), recently acquired from Oakland via waivers. He went 2 2/3 innings in his first start, Saturday against Tampa Bay, as the Orioles are trying to stretch him out over time.
Neither of Wednesday's starters has faced the other team in their careers.
Baltimore's struggles since the All-Star break continued in Tuesday's loss. The Orioles dropped three of four home games to the Tampa Bay Rays and are 1-4 overall.
They also lost a key starting pitcher when right-hander Andrew Cashner was traded to Boston, where he started for the Red Sox Tuesday.
The Orioles have been struggling on offense of late in different spots. Trey Mancini was hitless in his previous 24 at-bats before getting a hit in Tuesday's loss.
Dwight Smith Jr. was one of Baltimore's pleasant surprises during the first half of the season, but he went hitless in four at-bats Tuesday and is without a hit in July (0-for-28).
Overall, the Orioles have been missing on scoring chances, something that happened again in Tuesday's loss, when they went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
"(We had) some opportunities to score runs and just (were) not getting the ... ball put in play when we needed it," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told the media afterward. "Obviously, we have a few guys in a funk now who are pressing a bit."
MASN reports that Hanser Alberto, one of the team's top hitters this year, will be going on the paternity list, possibly as early as Wednesday. His fifth homer of the season accounted for Baltimore's only run Tuesday, and after going 2-for-4, he is hitting .306.
--Field Level Media