By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter thought he would be seeing the last of the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.
A persistent rain changed all that.
The final game of the home-and-home interleague series between Baltimore and the Nationals was postponed by rain, meaning these neighboring rivals — located 38 miles apart — aren’t quite done with each other this season.
The makeup for Thursday night’s washout has been scheduled for June 8 at 7:05 p.m.
For three straight nights, two of the best teams in the majors engaged in competitive, back-and-forth duels.
Washington, which owns the best record in the National League, lost 6-4 on Monday night in Baltimore and blew a late lead Tuesday in 5-4, 12-inning defeat at Camden Yards.
Those two victories gave the Orioles the best record in the majors, a distinction that vanished with a 7-6 loss on Wednesday night in which the host Nationals rallied with a three-run ninth.
“It isn’t a whole lot of fun trying to figure out a way to beat them,” Showalter said Thursday afternoon.
“They’re really good. I’m glad they’re in the other league and I’m glad somebody else has to worry about them.”
Showalter expressed respect for Nationals manager Dusty Baker, who has turned Washington into a perennial contender.
“I think a lot of Dusty. They’ve got the right man,” Showalter said. “He’s special, through the years.
They’ve got a lot of pieces in place; a lot of things have to go right for the team that’s playing them to beat them.”
Now in his first season with the Nationals, catcher Matt Wieters has been a part of this rivalry for both teams. After spending eight years in Baltimore, he hit the winning single on Wednesday night for Washington.
He says the competition between the teams isn’t only about proximity.
“It’s a little bit because of location, but also because you see the talent on the other side,” Wieters said.
“Players have mutual respect for what kind of talent each team has.”
There were fans wearing Nationals red in Baltimore, and plenty of orange jerseys in D.C.
“I would think geography adds a little bit to it in terms of fan perspective,” Washington reliever Matt Grace said. “There’s a little bit of a battle there in the general area.”
For one night only, the duel resumes next month.
ROTATION STAYS SAME
The Nationals will skip Thursday starter A.J. Cole and keep the same pitching lineup they set in place for their next series against visiting Philadelphia: Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer.
The Orioles pushed back their starting rotation. Dylan Bundy, Thursday’s scheduled starter, will go Friday at Kansas City followed by Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman.
Baker wore the cap of the Baltimore Elite Giants during his pregame talk. After paying homage to a few of the Giants’ former stars, Baker said he grabbed the cap “because it’s raining.”
Nationals: RH relievers Koda Glover (hip) and Shawn Kelley (back) could return from the DL this weekend, Baker said. The duo has accounted for half of Washington’s 10 saves this season.
Orioles: C Welington Castillo (shoulder) will serve as DH for Double-A Bowie on Friday and Saturday and catch Sunday. If all goes well, he will activated from the DL on Tuesday.
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