BALTIMORE -- Though the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles play in stadiums located just 40 miles apart, the gap between their talent and expectations is far wider.
That was clearly evident in the opener of their two-game interleague series on Tuesday night, when the Nationals enhanced their pursuit of a playoff berth with an 8-1 rout that thrust the Orioles deeper into their season-long tailspin.
Matt Adams and Juan Soto homered for Washington, and rookie Austin Voth extended a streak of strong performances by the Nationals' rotation that has fueled a 13-3 stretch for the team with the third-best record in the National League.
Recalled from Double-A Harrisburg before the game, Voth (1-0) allowed one run and four hits over six innings on a broiling night.
"He's been up here and he's pitched well, and I like what I'm seeing," manager Dave Martinez said. "He seems like if he struggles for an inning or a few pitches, he has that poise and he gets back into that rhythm again, and I kind of like that."
Martinez wasn't sure what to think after Voth retired the first batter, then sandwiched a walk between hitting two batters with pitches. He got out of the jam and coasted from there.
"I definitely wasn't comfortable in that first inning," Voth said. "The ball kept slipping out of my hand and I didn't have my command. I just had to bear down."
Washington starters are unbeaten since June 15, have allowed one earned run or fewer in 11 of their last 16 outings and have a combined 1.78 ERA over the last 11 games.
The Orioles, in the first year of a major rebuild, possess the worst home mark in the majors (12-35) and worst overall record (28-66).
Adams' home run off Asher Wojciechowski (0-3) made him the 102nd player in the 28-year history of Camden Yards to hit a ball onto Eutaw Street, beyond the right field wall and in front of the B&O Warehouse. Two other Nationals did it: Adam Dunn in 2009 and Roger Bernadina in 2013.
Hanser Alberto tied it with a shot to left in the bottom half, but that would be the lone run for Baltimore. In their previous game, against Tampa Bay, the Orioles made 24 straight outs before getting their first baserunner in the ninth.
"A lot of times when it's one or two guys maybe struggling the rest of the guys pick them up," said Trey Mancini, who snapped an 0-for-24 skid with a double. "But there's quite a few of us who are going through little funks right now."
Soto made it 3-1 in the sixth. His 17th homer came two pitches after he fouled a ball off his shin and dropped to the ground. Insisting he was good to go, Soto proved it by driving a fastball from Wojciechowski into the center-field bleachers.
Martinez and Orioles rookie manager Brandon Hyde were part of the Cubs coaching staff from 2015-17.
"He's awesome. I know him and his family really well," said Martinez, adding that he had dinner with Hyde on Sunday night.
FUTURE ISN'T NOW
Right-hander Andrew Cashner was dealt to Boston on Saturday, and the Orioles are likely to unload more talent for prospects leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
"It's not weighing on me," Hyde said. "I think we're all aware of where we are. You want to win games and you want to stay competitive, and obviously losing good players is going to hurt your chances of both those things. But you've got to try to focus on the guys that you have and look big picture. We're in Year One of this."
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (back) threw around 75 feet and said "he felt a lot better," according to Martinez. Scherzer is eligible to come off the injured list Saturday and could throw a bullpen session in the next two days. ... To make room for Voth on the roster, Washington optioned C Spencer Kieboom to Double-A Harrisburg. ... RHP Justin Miller (rotator cuff strain) threw a scoreless inning for Harrisburg on Monday.
Orioles: OF/DH Mark Trumbo has been taking batting practice with the team, but the 33-year-old remains in recovery mode and isn't really close to making his 2019 debut following offseason knee surgery. "We're being optimistic that hopefully he can return at some point," Hyde said.
Nationals: Washington plans to recall RHP Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.79 ERA) to start the finale Wednesday night. Fedde has not pitched at any level since a July 2 start for Triple-A Fresno.
Orioles: Aaron Brooks (2-3, 4.75) makes his second start for the Orioles. The right-hander pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings against Tampa Bay last weekend, his first action in two weeks after being claimed on waivers from Oakland.
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