The first 12 Orioles hitters that stepped to the plate tonight were all set down by Edwin Jackson.
I’m no expert, but I believe if Jackson had retired the next 15 batters he saw, that would have been kind of a big deal.
Instead, the perfect game and no-hitter both were blown up in the span of three hitters in the fifth inning.
Adam Jones reached on a Ryan Zimmerman fielding error leading off the frame, (and man, was that a tough error considering how hard the ball was hit,) and two batters later, Wilson Betemit ripped a one-out single through the right side to give the Orioles their first hit.
Jackson might have failed to record his second no-no, but he has kept the shutout intact through five innings.
The error and Betemit single gave the O’s runners at the corners with one out, and Nick Johnson loaded the bases two batters later with a two-out walk. But Jackson got Steve Pearce to pop out to short to end the inning.
The Nationals head 3-0 as we go to the sixth thanks to a poor defensive play by Betemit, who allowed two runs to score with a throwing error in the second. Xavier Nady was credited with a single and an RBI on the play, but a good throw from Betemit ends the inning without any Nats crossing the plate.
Adam LaRoche made it a three-run lead leading off the fourth when he hit his team-leading 13th home run of the season. The blast off Wei-Yin Chen carried on this warm night in hitters-friendly Camden Yards and just made it out over the right-center field wall.
Update: Get this pitching staff three runs and you’ll often get a win.
Jackson, Michael Gonzalez, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard combined to hold the Orioles to one run on just five hits tonight, and the Nationals earned a 3-1 win over the Birds.
Jackson went 6 1/3 innings and the Nats got big double-play balls in both the seventh and eighth innings. They then watched Clippard deliver another perfect ninth inning to get his 12th save in 12 chances since being named the closer.
The Battle of the Beltways will head to a rubber game tomorrow afternoon.