Freddy Garcia pitches eight shutout innings as the O’s beat the Nats, 2-0

One night after the Orioles and Nationals combined to hit eight homers at Camden Yards, Freddy Garcia and Dan Haren hooked up in a pitcher’s duel. Garcia was outstanding, and a little bit better, pitching the Orioles to a 2-0 win.

Garcia pitched eight innings of three-hit, shutout ball, allowing just three singles. He pitched out of a two on, none out jam in the top of the second and then retired 21 of the last 22 batters he faced.

Jim Johnson pitched for the second night in a row and completed the shutout, recording his second save in two games and 17th on the season.

Mixing in his assortment of offspeed pitches and throwing first-pitch strikes to 21 of 27 batters, Garcia did not walk a batter and fanned six. He retired the side in order six times, throwing 113 pitches, 72 for strikes.

Garcia is now 2-2 with an ERA of 3.57 in six Orioles starts. He has pitched to an ERA of 1.89 over his past three starts against the Yankees, Blue Jays and Nats.

The Orioles’ rotation had pitched to an ERA of 6.03 with just one quality start over the last seven games. In that time, just one O’s starter - Jason Hammel on Monday at Washington - had gone more than six innings.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the last of the third. Ryan Flaherty led off with a single and, one out later, moved to second on a single by Manny Machado. Nick Markakis followed with an RBI double down the right field line for the 1-0 lead but the O’s stranded two runners after that.

Over his last 15 games, Markakis is batting .359 (23-for-64) with three homers and 14 RBIs.

The O’s added a run in the eighth when Nate McLouth and Machado produced back-to-back doubles. For Machado, it was his major league leading 25th double and his 30th RBI.

Haren did a solid job holding down the O’s offense on two runs over 7 1/3 innings for Washington.

The Orioles’ offense came into tonight leading the AL in runs scored (271), hits (515), doubles (118), home runs (75), slugging (.464), extra-base hits (197), stolen bases (41) and OPS (.796).

The Orioles were batting .332 over the previous six games and .311 and scoring 5.6 runs per game over the last 18 contests.

With their seventh win over the last 10 games, the Orioles improved to 30-24 overall, 13-12 at home and 5-4 vs. the National League.

The Orioles take three of four games this week from the Nationals. They have won eight of the last 11 and 13 of the last 19 in this series and to take a 26-20 all-time series lead.

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