By Gracenote

The Battle of the Beltway meets for a one-game showdown when the Washington Nationals host the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday in the makeup of a game that was rained out on May 11. The Nationals are trying to earn a tie in the Beltway series after dropping two at Baltimore and winning the first at home before the second was postponed.

Washington is returning for a seven-game homestand after going 7-2 on a nine-game road trip, including a series win at the Los Angeles Dodgers this week that ended with a 2-1 loss on Wednesday. “This game could’ve been ours and it wasn’t, and we got to be satisfied with what we have,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker told reporters. “If somebody would’ve told you when we left home we would be 7-2, I’m sure everybody would have been more than satisfied. When you could’ve been 8-1, then you’re not satisfied.” The Orioles probably could have used the day off after back-to-back extra-inning games but come in with some momentum following the pair of walk-off wins over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Alec Asher will go out in search of his second win as a starter for Baltimore on Thursday while the Nationals counter with struggling righty Joe Ross.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Alec Asher (2-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Joe Ross (2-2, 7.34)

Asher made his fourth start and 13th appearance of the season on Friday against Boston and breezed through 6 1/3 innings while allowing two runs and three hits without issuing a walk. The Florida native was lit up for six runs on as many hits in two innings at Houston in his previous outing. Asher spent the 2015 and 2016 campaigns in the National League East with the Philadelphia Phillies and is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in three career games – two starts – against Washington.

Ross is in danger of losing his rotation spot after getting lit up for a total of 12 runs – 11 earned – and 19 hits in seven innings over his last two starts. The 24-year-old returned to the rotation and allowed one run in eight innings to earn a win over Seattle on May 23 but could not find that form in his last two chances. Ross made one relief appearance against the Orioles in his career – firing 1 1/3 hitless innings.


1. Orioles 3B Manny Machado (left wrist soreness) left Wednesday’s game and is day-to-day.

2. Washington 1B Ryan Zimmerman bashed his 17th home run on Wednesday and recorded four in his last nine games.

3. Baltimore OF Trey Mancini went 2-for-2 with two home runs and five RBIs on Wednesday after entering the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning.

PREDICTION: Orioles 6, Nationals 4