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Thu, May 30, 2013 - 7:05 PM ET
 

Nationals-Orioles Preview

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The Baltimore Orioles' Chris Davis and Manny Machado are unexpectedly among the AL's leading hitters.

They're showing the Washington Nationals why.

Davis and Machado look to continue their outstanding production as the Orioles attempt to take the Beltway Series from the visiting Nationals on Thursday night.

Davis tops the majors with 19 homers, while his 50 RBIs and .359 average put the first baseman among the league leaders in those categories.

Machado's .332 average also puts him among elite company in the AL.

The 20-year-old third baseman batted .262 in 51 games as a rookie last year. Davis wasn't much better with a .270 average, but did set career highs with 33 homers and 85 RBIs.

Davis has been extremely hot lately, batting .432 over the past 19 games. He's 18 for 30 with six homers and nine RBIs in the past eight contests.

Machado has a .405 average over that stretch, including five hits to help the Orioles (29-24) win two of three from Washington (27-26) this week.

Davis has eight hits - three homers - in that span. He homered on two of his four hits Wednesday, driving in three to help Baltimore overcome a four-run deficit to win 9-6 in the opener of this two-game set at Camden Yards.

"He's been doing that the whole year, so every home run he hits from now on is just another one," Machado said. "It's impressive pop. He's a tremendous hitter and he's swinging the bat well."

Davis may be in for a stiffer test since Washington is scheduled to send Dan Haren (4-5, 5.43 ERA) to the mound. He's 2 for 10 with five strikeouts against the right-hander.

Haren, however, is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA over his last three starts.

He rebounded from a dismal performance in a 13-4 loss at San Diego with a much better showing Saturday against Philadelphia. Haren gave up three runs over six innings and struck out a season-high 10 before leaving without a decision in a 5-3 loss.

"The game against the Padres, my arm felt heavy," Haren told the team's official website. "It felt like I was throwing a softball. I just didn't throw good. ... Stuff-wise, (Saturday), is about as good as I've had all year. I just made a couple of mistakes. If I'm throwing like (that), we'll be good."

Haren is 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in his last two starts at Baltimore, but this is his first appearance there since being tagged for seven runs in five innings of a defeat with the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 16, 2011.

Washington wasted Ryan Zimmerman's first career three-homer game Wednesday, losing for the fifth time in six road contests. Zimmerman is 7 for 12 over the past three days and is a career .335 hitter against the Orioles.

He's hitless in four at-bats against scheduled starter Freddy Garcia (1-2, 4.61), who is looking to build on his first win since August.

The right-hander allowed three runs - two earned - in five innings of Saturday's 6-5 win at Toronto. He had been 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in eight starts, dating to a win over Texas with the New York Yankees on Aug. 15.

Garcia's latest appearance against the Nationals was two perfect innings of relief to earn a 5-3 win in 14 on June 16. He hasn't faced them as a starter since a victory with the Chicago White Sox on June 20, 2010.

Tagged: Orioles, Nationals, Dan Haren, Chris Davis

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