SARASOTA, Fla. - It's been an up-and-down afternoon for Edwin Jackson.
The Nationals' starter gave up one run in the first inning after allowing three straight hits, but followed that up with a stellar second frame, retiring the side in order and striking out two of the three Orioles he faced.
Then, in the third, things started to unravel for Jackson.
The righty gave up a leadoff single to second baseman Robert Andino and subsequently allowed Andino to scoot over to second on a throwing error on an attempted pickoff throw.
After retiring the next two hitters he faced, Jackson gave up back-to-back singles to Wilson Betemit and Adam Jones, with Betemit's base knock scoring Andino to give the O's a 2-1 lead.
Jackson then left one up over the plate to catcher Matt Wieters, who smacked one over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.
It's now 5-1 Orioles here in the fourth.
Jackson has shown impressive stuff at times this spring, but he's worked himself into a number of jams and has elevated his pitch count early in outings.
I know it's just spring training and I know that's Jackson's M.O., but as we get closer to games that matter, it'd be nice to see Jackson limit the base runners and have quicker innings.
The Nationals got their run in the first, when Danny Espinosa ripped a double down the left-field line and then scored on a two-out base hit by Wilson Ramos.
Rick Ankiel made the defensive play of the game so far, throwing out Adam Jones at the plate from shallow center to end the first inning. The throw didn't have to cover a long distance, but it was an absolute rope.
Update: Too bad we drove three and a half hours for this.
The wheels have fallen off for the Nats, as Jackson allowed five more runs in the fourth inning. He's done after 3 2/3 innings, having allowed 10 runs (seven earned), 11 hits and two walks. Jackson struck out four and threw 75 pitches, 53 strikes.
The Nats now trail 10-1, and not much is working for Davey Johnson's bunch. They're not hitting, they're not pitching and, having made three errors today, they're not playing defense.
Update II: The Nats lost to the O's 12-3. Down to the clubhouse; back in a bit.