Leftovers for breakfast

We have an interesting matchup tonight with the Orioles sending Kevin Gausman to the mound and the Nationals countering with Nathan Karns.

It's Double-A Bowie vs. Double-A Harrisburg.

Gausman, 22, will be making his second major league start. Karns, 25, will be making his major league debut.

What's the record for fewest combined major league starts among two pitchers in the same game? Somebody get Elias on the phone.

Gausman will try to give the Orioles their second consecutive quality start after Jason Hammel allowed two runs over eight innings yesterday in a 6-2 victory.

"He threw the ball well, best he's thrown the ball this year," said catcher Matt Wieters. "He was able to move his fastball on both sides of the plate, probably the biggest thing for him. And then his slider, he was able to use it for a put-away pitch, as well as a pitch he could get ahead with.

"That's by far the best he's thrown the ball this year. Thing with Ham is, he's going to compete, no matter what kind of stuff he has out there, and when he's able to bring that kind of location with that stuff, he's got a good chance to succeed."

You've got to give the Orioles credit for putting Sunday's meltdown against the Blue Jays behind them and taking care of business against the Nats.

"It's always nice to get a win, no matter whether we had won yesterday or not," Wieters said. "That's the thing with this team. Once that game started, we weren't worried about a game that ended up in a different country. We were worried about how to play this game.

"It's a good team over there. You've got to be focused on them to be able to get a win."

Nick Markakis extended his hitting streak to 12 games and went 2-for-6 with a big two-run single in the fourth inning after Hammel's sacrifice bunt.

Markakis is 20-for-53 (.377) with 11 RBIs during his streak.

"You know, it's just a matter of getting comfortable, getting your timing down," he said. "They preach about it all the time, especially at this level. If a pitcher makes a mistake, you've got to take advantage of it. You can't miss it. We did that today, and hopefully we continue doing that."

Darren O'Day retired the side in order in the ninth inning in a non-save situation. Jim Johnson may be available tonight, and he's still the closer.

"Jim is one of the backbones of this team, let alone the bullpen," said Tommy Hunter. "He's all right. He's pretty darned good. How many times has he gone out there and done it? It's just not going his way. It's just a matter of time before Jim's back. The guy works his (butt) off to get to where he is right now and I wouldn't see anything changing."

A closer's failures are usually going to be magnified because of the impact on the game.

"It's a big spot," Hunter said. "It's unfortunate that it's happening to him, but he's a smart fellow. He's a big boy. He'll figure it out and get back on track and start winning ballgames again."

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