Markakis RBI machine churns out another one (O’s win 2-0)

The Orioles wasted a prime scoring opportunity in the first inning tonight after Nate McLouth’s leadoff double and Manny Machado’s sacrifice bunt. The next two batters lined out, including Nick Markakis, who was denied by Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa.

Given another chance in the third inning, Markakis came through with a double off Nats starter Dan Haren that scored Ryan Flaherty and gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

Markakis has 14 RBIs in his last 15 games, and 32 this season to tie J.J. Hardy for third on the team behind Chris Davis (50) and Adam Jones (35).

Markakis has collected hits in 18 of his last 20 games, going 31-for-83 (.373) with eight doubles, three homers, 17 RBIs and 14 runs scored.

Flaherty singled with one out in the third, giving him three hits since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. Machado singled with two outs to keep the rally alive.

Before tonight, Machado was tied with Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera for the most hits in the majors with 77.

Markakis also made a diving catch in right-center field to rob Denard Span in the third inning.

The Orioles have one run and a lot of loud outs against Haren.

Freddy Garcia has retired nine in a row since allowing back-to-back singles to Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond leading off the second. Desmond reached on an infield hit.

Garcia escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam. He’s walked none, struck out three and thrown 33 of 53 pitches for strikes.

Down on the farm, left-hander Zach Britton has allowed two runs and three hits in five innings at Norfolk, with two walks and five strikeouts. Dan Johnson homered off him.

Britton has thrown 86 pitches, 51 for strikes.

Yamaico Navarro committed two fielding errors at shortstop, giving him seven with the Tides.

Update: Garcia is the second Orioles starter to complete six innings in the past eight games.

Garcia retired 14 in a row before Roger Bernadina’s two-out single to right. He’s allowed three hits in six scoreless innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.

Garcia has thrown 81 pitches, 52 for strikes.

The Orioles continue to lead 1-0 after the teams combined for eight home runs last night. Go figure.

Update II: Freddy Garcia retired 21 of the last 22 batters he faced. He’s at 112 pitches and Jim Johnson is starting to get loose in the Orioles’ bullpen.

Garcia hadn’t gone eight innings since September 2009. Tonight, he blanked the Nats on three hits, with no walks and six strikeouts.

Garcia has issued six walks in 35 1/3 innings with the Orioles.

Tonight’s attendance: 30,655

Update III: The Orioles added an insurance run in the eighth on back-to-back doubles by McLouth and Machado.

Markakis reached on a bloop single on a ball that was misplayed by Espinosa and Bernadina in shallow right field, but Adam Jones grounded into a double play.

Machado has 25 doubles and 24 multi-hit games.

McLouth is 3-for-4, raising his average to .304.

Johnson is looking for his 17th save.

Update IV: Johnson got the save, and the Nats were shut out for the seventh time this season.

Orioles 2, Nats 0

Johnson retired the side in order, as he did last night, and the Orioles took three of four from the Nats, who are 2-9 without Bryce Harper.

Time of game: 2:21. No complaints here.

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