Orioles can’t complete sweep against Nationals; Chen struggles, Strasburg and Nats offense have their way with Orioles…

Well, the Orioles had to lose sometime, and it happened on Sunday as they lost to the Washington Nationals, 9-3, on Sunday afternoon. The Nationals salvaged a game in the regional rivalry and avoided a sweep in front of a bipartisan crowd of under 42,000 at Nationals Park.

It was yet another beautiful day, but not so for the Orioles.

The Orioles saw their nine-game road win streak come to end. They saw their five game win streak also cease. Sadly, Baltimore pitching could not save the day, nor could Jones, Markakis, Hardy and company spur the offense. Their record is now 27-15, and they still hold a two-game lead in the American League East.

If there were any positives on Sunday for Baltimore, Xavier Avery and Chris Davis had two hits.

Overall, the Battle of the Beltway series has given a boon to Orioles fans, as they are still enjoying the team’s remarkable run.

It is good to see both the Orioles and Nationals contending at the top of their divisions and will hopefully bring a buzz to the region as summer heats up. The two teams will meet up again at Camden Yards in June.

Despite building an early 3-0 lead, the Orioles could not hold it, as pitcher Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals offense ended their five-game win streak. Wei-Yin Chen lost his first game as an Oriole — and in the majors — as he got hit hard on Sunday. In the end, he gave up six runs in only 4 1/3 innings of work. Chen clearly struggled with his pin-point locations that we as fans have grown accustomed to seeing. The Nationals made him pay for it – dearly.

The Orioles got three quick runs off Strasburg early, scoring once in the first inning off a Nick Markakis single. They added two more in the second inning as Robert Andino plated in a run with a groundout, and Xavier Avery had an RBI-single. Baltimore was aided by a whopping Bryce Harper error in left-center field; however, the offense for the Birds would die after that as Strasburg got into a groove and did not relent.

Chen was rolling until the third inning, as he gave up three runs as Bryce Harper had a two-run triple and Ian Desmond plated Harper with a groundout. Nick Markakis nearly had a highlight reel moment as he nearly caught Harper’s drive to right; however, as he dove on the warning track, the ball popped out of his glove and Harper was off to the races.

With the score tied at three in the fourth inning, it got worse for Baltimore. Chen would give up back to back homers to Jesus Flores and Strasburg – yes; plus, he allowed another run to the Nationals in the fifth inning after Desmond’s RBI-single. After that, Chen was pulled from the game and Darren O’Day stopped the bleeding for 1 2/3 innings.

The Nationals poured it on again at the plate as Dana Eveland – in mop-up duty – allowed three runs in the eighth as he served up a two-run homer to Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche plated in a run with a sacrifice fly.

Overall, Strasburg only pitched five innings, but struck out eight Orioles, but left to due biceps tightness according to ESPN; overall, Nationals pitching stuck out thirteen Orioles. Xavier Avery, Adam Jones, Wilson Betemit and Wei-Yin Chen struck out twice. Matt Wieters had the day off, and is mired in an 0-for-18 slump.