Zimmermann, Morse, Zimmerman lead Nationals over Orioles 4-2
WASHINGTON (AP) - Michael Morse put Washington ahead with a sixth-inning homer, Ryan Zimmerman also connected, and the Nationals beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 Saturday for their eighth straight victory.
Playing in his fifth game since being activated from the disabled list, Zimmerman had two hits, including a double that ignited a three-run uprising in the sixth. Washington is averaging 7.4 runs since his return.
The Nationals' winning streak is their longest since an eight-game run from Aug. 2-9, 2009.
Jordan Zimmerman (5-6) gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings to win a third consecutive decision. The right-hander has not allowed more than three runs in nine successive starts since April 26.
Adam Jones homered for the Orioles, who have lost six of seven to fall a season-worst six games under .500 (31-37).
Starter Brian Matusz (1-2) absorbed his second straight loss and left in the sixth inning with cramping in his left hamstring.
The interleague matchup of nearby rivals drew a crowd of 36,614, the second-largest of the season at Nationals Park behind opening day. The teams drew 35,562 fans on Friday night.
With the score tied at 1, the Nationals went ahead for good in the sixth. Zimmerman hit a one-out double and Morse followed with his 13th home run. Ivan Rodriguez added an RBI double off reliever Clay Rapada.
J.J. Hardy singled in a run in the seventh, but that's as close as the Orioles would come. Drew Storen worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 19 tries.
Matusz was making his fourth start since being activated from the disabled list on June 1 after missing two months with a strained muscle in his left side. In his previous appearance, he yielded four runs, five hits and four walks in 1 1-3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, who openly wondered whether the left-hander was at full strength.
Matusz pitched well for five innings but came unglued in the sixth. He was charged with four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Jones and Ryan Zimmerman both hit solo homers in the first. It was the 10th of the season for Jones and the second for Zimmerman, the first since he was reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday after missing 58 games with a left abdominal tear.
Derrek Lee hit a one-out double in the Baltimore fourth and took third on a single by Felix Pie. Zimmerman then struck out Mark Reynolds and retired Robert Andino on a grounder.
Notes: Baltimore LF Luke Scott left in the fourth inning with back spasms. ... LHP Tom Gorzellany will be activated on Sunday to start for Washington. He's been on the disabled list since May 23 with an inflamed left elbow. ... The Orioles designated RHP Jeremy Accardo for assignment, optioned INF Ryan Adams to Triple-A Norfolk, recalled RHP Brad Bergesen and purchased the contract of INF Blake Davis from Norfolk. Bergesen pitched two scoreless innings Saturday. ... Morse now has 42 RBIs, a new career high. He had 41 in 98 games last year. ... The 11-game hitting streak of Washington's Ian Desmond came to end with an 0-for-4 performance.
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