Your nightly Xavier Avery blog entry (updated)

WASHINGTON - Nationals starter Edwin Jackson has allowed five baserunners in six innings.

Xavier Avery has accounted for three of them.

Avery walked in the first, doubled in the third and singled in the sixth.

Yes, I’ll say it: He’s halfway to the cycle.

Avery also scored the game’s only run before Ian Desmond homered leading off the bottom of the sixth. And Avery’s average has jumped from .238 to .304.

The Orioles were leading 1-0, as Jackson and Jake Arrieta continued to dazzle. Jackson retired 13 of 14 before Avery’s single in the sixth. Arrieta struck out eight over five innings, one short of his season high.

Arrieta fanned nine Yankees over eight innings on May 2, his last good start. In the next two, he allowed 13 runs and 19 hits in 10 innings.

Jackson has held the Orioles to one run and four hits in six innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts. Arrieta was shutting out the Nats on four hits over five innings, with one walk and eight strikeouts, before Desmond crushed a 92 mph sinker to left field.

Jackson has thrown 78 pitches, 53 for strikes. Arrieta threw 74 pitches, 49 for strikes, entering the bottom of the sixth. They’re both 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.

Update: Avery grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the top of the eighth after Nick Johnson’s pinch-hit single.

Johnson batted for Arrieta, who allowed one run and six hits, walked one and tied his career high with nine strikeouts over seven innings. Arrieta threw 103 pitches, 66 for strikes.

Darren O’Day will pitch the bottom of the eighth inning with the score tied, 1-1.

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