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Interleague Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, May 18th (All times Eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (25-14) at Washington Nationals (23-15), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Jake Arrieta (2-4, 5.21) Washington - Edwin Jackson (1-1, 3.71)

(Sports Network) - It's not very often that the Orioles and Nationals meet with each team contending in their respective divisions.

Yet, that is the case tonight when surprising Baltimore and Washington get together to open a three-game series and begin the seventh annual Beltway Series.

The Orioles come in having won three in a row overall as well as seven straight on the road for the first time since 1999. At 25-14, Baltimore is 11 games over .500 for the first time since June 24, 2005 when it was 42-31. That record is good enough for a one-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

The O's extended their streaks on Thursday with a 5-3 win over Kansas City. J.J. Hardy hit a two-run single in the seventh and Adam Jones added a two-run homer one game after hitting a solo home run in the 15th inning to help Baltimore win Wednesday's opener.

Brian Matusz gave up three runs on seven hits over six innings for Baltimore.

"With the lineup that we have, it doesn't matter what the score is," Matusz said. "We're still in the ballgame. As you saw last night, coming from behind, and today, down 3-0, we come back and get five and hold them."

Despite losses in three of five, the Nationals continue to hover near the top of the National League East. They sit a half-game behind the first-place Braves and are coming off a 5-3 loss to the Pirates.

Ryan Zimmerman drove in a pair of runs and Adam LaRoche had a RBI triple for the Nationals, while Jordan Zimmermann was pegged with the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits over six frames.

"You look at that game and it seemed like the mistakes he made got hammered," said LaRoche. "So I think it was one of those games where it wasn't as bad as it looked."

Edwin Jackson gets the call for the Nationals for this opener and is looking for his first victory since a complete-game effort versus the Reds on April 14.

The right-hander faced Cincinnati again on Sunday and recorded his fourth straight no-decision after giving up three runs on five hits and two homers, striking out four without a walk in five innings.

Jackson is 1-1 with a 3.71 earned run average in seven starts this year. The 28-year-old is 5-1 lifetime when facing Baltimore, posting a 3.61 ERA over nine games (7 starts).

The Orioles will counter with 26-year-old Jake Arrieta, who is 0-1 with a 12.38 ERA in his previous two encounters with Washington.

Arrieta has lost four of his past five starts and lost his second in a row on Sunday versus the Rays, charged with season highs of seven runs and 10 hits over just 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.

"Jake's capable of better and that's what frustrates him somewhat," said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter.

Arrieta has allowed 17 runs in his past four starts and is 2-4 with a 5.21 ERA through eight outings this season.

Baltimore leads the all-time interleague series with Washington 19-17 as the clubs split six meetings a season ago.

The Orioles went 7-11 in interleague play last year, while the Nats were 8-7 versus the AL.

05/18 10:54:11 ET