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WSH@BOS: Zimmermann strikes out seven over seven

After being shut down in three consecutive contests, the Orioles will be trying to get back on track against the game's premier pitching staff.

The O's have scored 12 runs in their last six outings and didn't exceeded six hits in any of them. They managed only three runs in a sweep at the hands of the Mets, ending a streak of 28 scoreless frames in the eighth inning of the series finale.

Righting the ship will be especially difficult against a Nationals staff that leads the Majors with a 3.05 ERA.

"I know our guys are frustrated," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "We've beaten some very good pitchers, and to get where we want to go, we're going to [have to find a way to keep doing that]."

First on the slate is Friday night's matchup at Camden Yards against Jordan Zimmermann, who gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings against the Yankees on Saturday.

Zimmermann has a 2.92 ERA but hasn't won a game since May 22, against the Phillies. In three career starts against the Orioles -- one at Camden Yards -- he is 1-1 with six earned runs given up in 19 2/3 innings.

The Orioles will counter with Jason Hammel, who held the Braves to one hit in a dominant complete-game outing his last time out, striking out eight and walking two. His ERA of 2.87 is seventh in the American League.

First-place Washington is coming off a series win over Tampa Bay and is 9-6 in Interleague Play.

The series at Camden Yards will mark the second time the teams have met in the Battle of the Beltways this season. The O's took two of three from the Nationals in Washington from May 18-20.

Nationals: Desmond making impression on skipper
Given the choice, manager Davey Johnson would rather his young players be too aggressive than not at all, a description that more than fits Ian Desmond.

Desmond has set a career high in homers this season, with 11, and contributed to Thursday's win over the Rays with an RBI single in the third inning.

Orioles: Betemit a bright spot
As the Orioles' offense has struggled, Wilson Betemit has been the most reliable option. In his last seven games, Betemit is 9-for-20 with two home runs and nine RBIs. His two-run shot in the eighth inning against the Mets on Wednesday helped the Orioles avoid being shut out for the third consecutive game.

"It felt good. ... But I would have felt better if we won," Betemit said.

Worth noting
• Orioles farmhands Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado will represent the club at the Futures Game in Kansas City on July 8.

• Baltimore's Nick Markakis had hoped that he could start hitting on Friday, but instead he will have his right wrist re-examined due to lingering soreness following surgery to remove a broken hamate bone, an injury that has had him on the disabled list since June 1.

• Baltimore needs only one win to clinch a winning Interleague record after going 9-6 in its first 15 games.

• Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman struck out three times on Thursday night against Tampa Bay, tying a season high.

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