Baltimore Orioles (62-48) at Washington Nationals (60-49), 7:05 p.m. (ET)
08/04/2014 10:29 AM
08/04/2014 10:33 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - Ahead of a huge series against a division rival, the Baltimore Orioles will first make a brief stop to play a makeup game with the Washington Nationals on Monday evening in a clash between first-place clubs.
This contest was originally scheduled for July 8, the second contest of a four-game home-and-home series between the Beltway rivals. However, the game was rained out and the Orioles ended up taking two of the three early July meetings.
Following this meeting, the Orioles head north to take on the Toronto Blue Jays for three games. Baltimore currently leads Toronto by 3 1/2 contests for first place in the AL East.
The O's secured their fourth straight winning series with Sunday's 1-0 triumph over the Seattle Mariners as Chris Tillman fanned six over seven scoreless innings.
"Starting pitching is starting to show up for us ... we're feeding off each other," Tillman said.
Next up is right-hander Kevin Gausman, who is 5-3 with a 3.70 earned run average on the season.
Gausman is coming off a victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, charged with three runs over seven innings. He retired the first 14 batters faced before running into some trouble in the fifth inning, but the 23-year- old showed some growth by battling through the three-run frame to go deeper into the contest.
"It was big for me," Gausman said of getting through the fifth.
Gausman matched his longest start of the season and will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He faced them on May 28 of last year in what was his second career start and was charged with seven runs on eight hit over four innings of a loss in Washington. Gausman served up three homers in defeat.
Washington began an eight-game homestand by losing two straight to Philadelphia, but outscored the Phillies 15-0 in taking the final two meetings of the series. The Nats secured the split with Sunday's 4-0 win, with Stephen Strasburg logging seven shutout frames of three-hit ball with 10 strikeouts.
"He has proven why he is a really good pitcher," Nationals manager Matt Williams said about Strasburg. "The last two outings have been really good."
Washington, which is 3 1/2 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East, will hope that righty Tanner Roark can win a fifth straight start this evening.
Roark has impressed this season with an 11-6 mark and 2.74 ERA. He has logged seven innings of work in five straight outings and allowed just a single run in four straight.
Since giving up seven runs at Philadelphia on May 5, he has pitched to a 2.20 ERA in 15 starts.
The 27-year-old beat Miami on Wednesday, giving up a run on three hits -- one a solo homer -- over seven innings with seven strikeouts.
"Tanner continues to pitch well for us," Williams told Washington's website. "He gave up the home run to (Jordany) Valdespin. Other than that, he pitched pretty well, he kept us in the game, allowed us to get some opportunities."
Roark, who leads the Nationals in wins, will face the Orioles for the first time.
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