Jake Arrieta's maddening inconsistency reared its ugly head again this afternoon.
Arrieta was charged with four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, with three walks, two strikeouts and a home run. He threw 98 pitches, 58 for strikes.
The fourth run scored on Kelly Shoppach's two-run homer off reliever Luis Ayala, only his second this season. Daniel Nava hit No. 2 off Arrieta earlier in the inning, after the first two batters were retired.
Arrieta held the Nationals to one run over seven innings Friday night after allowing a combined 13 runs and 19 hits in 10 innings in his two previous starts.
And so it goes.
Arrieta blanked the Twins on two hits over seven innings on opening day and registered one quality start in his next four outings. He shut out the Yankees on five hits over eight innings on May 2 before the back-to-back atrocities that proceeded the gem in Washington.
Nick Johnson is trying to spare Arrieta a loss. He's homered twice today, with his two-run shot in the sixth reducing Boston's lead to 5-4.
Johnson has four homers this season. Today marks the fifth two-homer game of his career and the first since May 28, 2006, when he played for the Nationals.
The Orioles trail the Red Sox 5-4 in a game that's moving along at a snail's pace. A snail that just had its right knee drained.
In another minor league move, the Orioles promoted Mike Wright, a third-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, from Single-A Frederick to Double-A Bowie. That's how they're making room in the Keys' rotation for Dylan Bundy.
Wright was 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA in eight starts, with five walks and 35 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette explained Bundy's promotion to Frederick, where he'll start on Saturday, by saying, "He distinguished himself within that league and it looks like he's ready for another challenge."
Bundy is scheduled to pitch five innings Saturday, like he would have done with Single-A Delmarva. No word on what happens beyond Saturday, except that he'll remain with the Keys.
Update: Scott Podsednik just homered off Darren O'Day in the eighth inning, his first since Sept. 6, 2010. The Red Sox lead, 6-4.
The last three hitters in Boston's lineup have homered today, giving them a combined five this season. Embarrassing.
More on Bundy: He'll be part of a six-man rotation in Frederick. Same arrangement as Delmarva. That means an extra day of rest before each start.
Update II: The Orioles got a leadoff walk from Nick Markakis and double from Adam Jones in the bottom of the eighth, but they settled for only one run.
The Orioles are 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and have stranded eight.