Extra innings decided the first meeting between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals this season on Friday as they renewed their annual interleague rivalry series. The Orioles edged the Nationals 2-1 in 11, and baseball bettors can expect to see another low-scoring game on Saturday between two unlikely teams battling for first place in their respective divisions.

This has been a major change from previous years when neither team was very competitive.  The Orioles (26-14) lead the American League East by two games over the Tampa Bay Rays while the Nationals are 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.  Six of the last nine meetings have gone OVER the total, and only one starting pitcher for each team has lasted as long seven innings in the past 10 games between them.

That was not the case on Friday when both Washington’s Edwin Jackson and Baltimore’s Jake Arrieta went seven strong innings for their teams and allowed just one run apiece.  The game was decided by Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis, who hit the game-winning home run in the 11th inning off Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus.  Baltimore has now won four games in a row overall and owns an eight-game winning streak away from home, improving its MLB-best road record to 14-5.

The Orioles will send Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.68 ERA) to the mound next in search of his fifth win in six decisions.  Hammel is 3-0 lifetime vs. Washington with a 3.55 ERA, and he has allowed exactly two runs in all four of his road starts this year.  His counterpart Ross Detwiler (3-2, 2.75) is 2-0 in four home starts for Washington this season with a 2.42 ERA, although he has been a bit shaky lately.  In his last two starts overall, Detwiler has surrendered eight runs and 14 hits in 11 innings.  However, four of his past five outings have gone UNDER the total.

The last five games for the Nationals have all gone OVER, but they have lost two straight at home for the first time this season and are dealing with injuries to three starting position players in outfielders Michael Morse (lat) and Jayson Werth (wrist) and catcher Wilson Ramos (knee).  Those injuries are starting to catch up to the team, and Baltimore’s starting pitchers have a 2.67 ERA during the team’s current winning streak.  The UNDER has cashed in all four games.

Look for the Orioles to continue their hot play and beat Washington for the seventh time in 10 meetings on Saturday while the total stays UNDER for a fifth straight game.

Free MLB Picks: Baltimore Orioles +100 and UNDER 7