Wire Taps: Washington Nationals In Baltimore For Three With The O's.

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 13: Clint Barmes #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks back to the dugout after striking out to end the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 13, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Baltimore Orioles took two of three from the Washington Nationals in the May 18-20th edition of the Battle of the Beltway earlier this season in Nationals Park. The series win by the O's gave the Nats' neighbors to the north a 21-18 advantage since the two teams first played in 2006, a year after baseball returned the nation's capital. The two teams renew their "rivalry" tonight in Camden Yards when Jordan Zimmermann and Jason Hammel face off in the first game of a three-game weekend series in the House that Cal built. The Orioles are coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets and they've dropped four of six against the NL East to fall to 39-30 overall and they now find themselves in second place in the AL East, 2.5 games behind the NY Yankees. The Nationals took two of three from the AL East's third-place Tampa Bay Rays this week to improve to 40-27 overall. The Nats now have a 3.5 game lead over the NL East's second-place NY Mets as they head out on a 10-game road trip that takes them to Baltimore, Colorado and Atlanta. 7:05 pm EDT tonight. Before that you can catch up on the links... Starting RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Just when you thought the Joe Maddon-Joel Peralta pine tar trip to D.C. couldn’t get any more amazing..." - "Robin Ficker heckles Joe Maddon, receives signed ball" - Dan Steinerg and James Wagner, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "'I definitely take it personally in the sense that I want to get 'em,' [Danny] Espinosa said. 'I want to make 'em pay for what they're doing.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Postgame thoughts from Espinosa, Mattheus, Desmond" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals needed [Danny] Espinosa to come through in a particularly tough spot Thursday in a game that featured several key moments." - "Left to hit, Espinosa delivers" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "With one hack, [Danny] Espinosa smote Nationals Park’s two newest villains, struck a blow for his maligned left-handed swing and lifted the Nationals to a 5-2 victory..." - "Nationals vs. Rays: Danny Espinosa gives Washington series win with go-ahead single off Joel Peralta" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "It looked like this would be another one of those nights when [Danny] Espinosa looks unstoppable from the right side (and only the right side) of the plate..." - "Instant analysis: Nats 5, Rays 2" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'No matter what my spot is with the team, I think the only thing I need to do is get my sinker back,' Wang said through his interpreter." - "Chien-Ming Wang wants to get back that sinking feeling" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "Danny Espinosa's two-run double in the sixth inning broke a tie game, and the Nats held on for a 5-2 victory at Nationals Park on Thursday night." - "Nationals bounce back to beat Rays for second straight game" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "An unfamiliar, bearded face joined the Nationals during batting practice today..." - "Jayson Werth rehabs with team, Mark DeRosa begins rehab with Class A Potomac" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Prior to this season, [Steve] Lombardozzi had never played in the outfield. He came up through the Minors as an infielder and began the season in a utility role before shifting to left field." - "Lombardozzi becoming a reliable outfielder" - Mike Fiammetta and Jeff Seidel, nationals.com: News

• "For generations, that sweltering summer happiness — the hot, competitive kind — was always somewhere else. Now, it’s here." - "For Washington Nationals and their fans, the dog days are over" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "The series at Camden Yards will mark the second time the teams have met in the Battle of the Beltways this season. The O's took two of three from the Nationals in Washington from May 18-20." - "Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles - June 22, 2012" - Greg Luca, MLB.com Preview

• "Tonight, [Davey] Johnson will be in the dugout at Camden Yards for the first time since 1997, the year he guided Baltimore to its lone AL East title of the last 28 years..." - "15 years later, Davey returns to Baltimore" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "June has been a shutdown month for [Tyler] Clippard. In nine appearances, Clippard has a 0.00 ERA, allowing one hit, no runs, five walks and 10 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings." - "Nationals' Burnett and Clippard pose an unstoppable 1-2 punch in win over Rays" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Ian] Desmond ranged way to his left, scooped the ball on a tricky hop, did a 360-degree spin behind second base and made a whirling, strong throw to first to nail [Desmond] Jennings." - "Ian Desmond was everywhere last night" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'I feel great, being in a rhythm now and just getting pretty consistent at-bats,' [Tyler] Moore said. 'I'll do anything to help the team.'" - "Moore's talent resulting in more playing time" - Mike Fiammetta and Jeff Seidel, nationals.com: News

• "After the top of the sixth inning, Davey Johnson walked up to Gio Gonzalez and told him he was done for the night. The Nationals' starter wasn't thrilled with that decision." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson talks after Nats take the series from Rays" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Major League Baseball had set a July 1 deadline to resolve the dispute between the Washington Nationals and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network over the value of the team's television rights deal." - "Deadline approaches in TV rights dispute" - Jim Williams, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "It's not always as easy as it sounds, though, as Tyler Moore found out last month when he first joined the Nationals." - "2nd time has been charm for Moore" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals have also now won 82 percent of the time that Strasburg or Gonzalez have taken the mound (23 wins in 28 starts)." - "Nationals Pastime: Some of this, some of that" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Wilson] Ramos, 24, a primary piece of the Nationals’ future, is awaiting another surgery before he can finally begin his long recovery back onto the field." - "Wilson Ramos recovering but awaiting second surgery" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Though Desmond's 3.33 pitches per plate appearance are the fewest among Nats starters, the 26-year-old remains on his way to a career year." - "Johnson liking Desmond's approach at the plate" - Mike Fiammetta and Jeff Seidel, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "A genuine change must first come from within the individual, only then can he or she attempt to make a significant contribution to humanity."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "The Auburn Doubledays (3-1) came back from one run down in the bottom of the 11th to defeat the Batavia Muckdogs (1-3) in extra innings..." - "Doubledays walk off in extras, 6-5 over Batavia" - Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "Auburn starter Pedro Encarnacion went 4 1-3 innings, the longest outing by a starter this season, allowing five hits and three runs, two of which were earned. He walked three and struck out two." - "Walk-off win: Doubledays score two in the bottom of 11th to get third victory" - Jeremy Houghtaling and Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starting pitcher Kylin Turnbull (2-4) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on six hits over five innings in the start." - "Suns Squeezed by Blue Claws 5-3" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Hagerstown: "A club source confirmed that Nationals right-handed reliever Cole Kimball will be reporting to low Single-A Hagerstown on Friday." - "Nationals reliever Cole Kimball to rehab in Hagerstown, DeRosa playing third for P-Nats" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Class-A Potomac: P-Nats 5, Dash 4 - Blake Kelso - 2 for 3, 4 RBI's; Robbie Ray - 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: "Portland used a three doubles and an error in the second inning to score three runs off Senators' starting pitcher Rob Gilliam." - "Senators Sloppy in 6-1 Loss to Portland" - Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Despite the lack of early offense, [John] Lannan kept the Chiefs in the game with six innings of one-run baseball." - "Chiefs complete four-game sweep of Red Sox" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "John Lannan held the top scoring team in the International League to one run (a solo homer by Tony Thomas) on six hits over six innings while walking two and striking out three." - "Chiefs sweep away first place Pawtucket" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Last Night In Woodbridge" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Tuesday night's pine tar dust-up aside, the Nats can take pride in bouncing back from a tough series against the Yankees and beating a very good team." - "Nationals' transformation mirrors Rays' progression" - Nationals Buzz: Marty Niland, MASNSports.com

• "Mickey Vernon Reminiscences" - Jim Vankoski, D.C. Baseball History

• "Just another series win for the first place Nats." - "Left-side Danny makes Weird Wuss, Peraltar, pay" - Nats Enquirer

• "The Nats official closer, Drew Storen, has started a throwing program targeting a return to the bullpen around the All-Star Break." - "Can The Nationals Remove Clippard From Closer’s Role When Storen Returns?" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "It is safe to say that this series was way more fun than we could have anticipated after Joel Peralta’s pine tar ejection." - "Nats take Rays series as Robin Ficker heckles Joe Maddon" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies: "[Joe] Blanton, of course, has been plagued by home runs recently. In his first eight starts, he allowed just two in 48.2 innings. In his last seven starts, he has allowed 15 in 42.1 innings." - "Joe Blanton and the James Shields Parallel" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Mets: "So in the eighth inning last night, the Mets allowed a run for Baltimore for the first time in the three-game series between the teams. The run snapped a season-high 29-inning scoreless streak for Mets opponents..." - "The Mets Finally Allowed Some Runs to Baltimore, But They Still Won" - Joe DeLessio, New York Magazine, The Sports Section

Marlins: "Logan Morrison rattled Pesky’s Pole. But he also struck the Green Monster with such force that the impact shook the numbers on the hand-operated scoreboard." - "Ricky Nolasco shelled against Red Sox as Miami Marlins sink deeper" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "Jair Jurrjens' audition to regain his spot in the Braves' rotation begins Friday night at Fenway Park." - "Atlanta Braves at Boston Red Sox - June 22, 2012" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com Preview

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