The Washington Nationals repeatedly have come up empty in the annual Beltway Series against the Baltimore Orioles, with their last season series victory coming in 2007. Washington has a chance to earn a split of this year’s four-game, home-and-home set when they host the Orioles on Thursday night in the series finale.
The Nationals used a dramatic rally to halt Baltimore’s six-game winning streak on Wednesday, scoring twice in the eighth and three times in the ninth for a 7-6 walk-off victory on ex-Oriole Matt Wieters’ two-run single. It was the ninth career walk-off hit for Wieters, who signed with Washington in the offseason after spending his first eight seasons with Baltimore. The Orioles will go for the series win behind Dylan Bundy, who is 4-0 with seven runs allowed over his last five starts. Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo, who hit a major league-best 47 homers last year, followed up his walk-off single Tuesday with a two-run blast Wednesday.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Dylan Bundy (5-1, 2.17 ERA) vs. Orioles RH A.J. Cole (1-0, 1.50)
Bundy continues to churn out quality starts, making it 7-for-7 this season after giving up three runs on six hits over six innings in a win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. He matched his season high with seven innings at Boston in his previous turn and has not permitted more than seven hits in a start. Bundy is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA in four starts at Camden Yards this season.
Cole allowed a number of hard-hit balls in his season debut at Philadelphia on Saturday, but he minimized the damage by overcoming four walks and permitting one run over six innings. Cole made his 2016 debut at Baltimore on Aug. 22, giving up four runs on five hits while striking out eight over seven innings. Trumbo had a two-run homer and Jonathan Schoop a solo blast off Cole.
1. Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman is 1-for-14 in the series, dropping his batting average from .435 to .393.
2. Trumbo has hit safely in seven consecutive games.
3. Nationals CF Adam Eaton underwent surgery for a torn ligament and torn meniscus in his left knee and is expected to miss six to nine months.
PREDICTION: Orioles 5, Nationals 4