BALTIMORE (AP) — The Washington Nationals made themselves right at home at Camden Yards in an interleague duel between crosstown rivals and division leaders.
Doug Fister allowed two runs over seven innings and Washington hit three solo homers in a 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
The Nationals usually win with pitching, and Fister was more than efficient. But on this night Washington beat the hard-hitting Orioles at their own game, using home runs by Wilson Ramos, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth to win this matchup between teams located 40 miles apart on I-295.
“This is a good ballpark to hit home runs in,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “All you need to do is look at the other dugout to see that.”
Fister (8-2) scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out three. He is 8-1 in his last 11 starts and 52-52 for his career, the first time the right-hander has been at .500 since 6-6 in 2010.
“He was pretty good,” said Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph, who hit into two double plays. “He sinks the ball so well and he’s got that curveball, he didn’t bust it out until the second or third time around. And he’s got a good enough slider to hit one off the barrel.”
Fister has earned the right to be considered the ace of a staff that includes Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann. But, Williams said, “Everybody has pitched very well. To throw labels on guys isn’t fair. They have all pitched very well; sometimes it just doesn’t come out as a win.”
Each team has one win in the rain-shortened, home-and-home showdown that concludes Thursday night. Baltimore is 7-2 in its last nine games and Washington has won eight of 10 overall.
“We’re getting some momentum together and that’s kind of where we’re at right now,” Fister said. “That’s good going into the break.”
Manny Machado went 3 for 4 with a homer for the Orioles and Chris Davis had two hits and an RBI. Machado is 12 for 21 in four games since returning from a five-game suspension.
“I feel fine at the plate, seeing the ball well,” Machado said. “I’m just trying to keep this going.”
Orioles starter Bud Norris (7-6) gave up five runs and six hits in four-plus innings in his first appearance since June 21. He won four straight starts before going on the disabled list with a right groin strain.
“As much as you do side work and (simulated) games and stuff like that, there’s no substitute for the adrenaline and the challenge of facing major league hitters,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “Especially ones as good as Washington has. So it will get better. We’ve seen what he’s capable of.”
It was Norris’ shortest outing of the year, and the five runs and two home runs he allowed matched season highs.
“I felt pretty good,” he insisted. “Got a little achy there at the end, but I’m happy with the results and it’s kind of out of my head now. I’ll get a couple more bullpens in and just go from there and into the break and feel good going into the second half.”
Washington jumped on Norris for two first-inning runs. After Anthony Rendon and Werth hit successive doubles, Adam LaRoche delivered an RBI single.
Davis singled in a run in the bottom half, and Ramos made it 3-1 in the second with a shot to left.
Desmond hit his 16th home run in the fourth, a drive that landed in the front row of the bleachers in center field. Machado got the run back in the home half with his ninth home run, the fifth in eight games.
LaRoche added a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Werth homered off Brad Brach in the seventh.
The Nationals played their 13th consecutive errorless game, matching their longest streak since coming to Washington from Montreal in 2005. Rendon made several sparkling plays at third base and started a 5-4-3 double play in the sixth after Baltimore put runners at the corners with one out and the score 5-2.
“Their third baseman had a great night,” Showalter said. “We could have got back in it a little bit but they didn’t let us defensively.”
NOTES: Wei-Yin Chen (0-2, 7.71 ERA vs the Nationals) faces Gonzalez in the series finale Thursday night. … Ramos extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games. … Washington’s Danny Espinosa went 0 for 3 and is mired in an 0-for-22 skid. His teammate, Bryce Harper, went 0 for 4 and is 4 for 28 since coming off the DL following left thumb surgery.
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