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COL@WSH: Fister holds Rox to three runs over seven

A day after they had to deal with Stephen Strasburg, things won't get any easier for the Orioles on Tuesday in the Battle of the Beltways. The Nats will send Doug Fister and his 2.93 ERA to the hill for the final game at Nationals Park before the series heads up to Camden Yards on Wednesday.

"It's the pitching," O's manager Buck Showalter said. "My gosh. They're not a whole lot of fun to do an advance on. … Not many weaknesses at all."

Strasburg was widely regarded as a National League Cy Young Award contender before the season, but Fister (7-2) has been the better pitcher this season. After an injury caused him to miss the first month of the season, Fister has 42 strikeouts and six walks in 11 starts.

O's starter Bud Norris has had to deal with injuries, too. Norris (7-5) will return from a 15-day stint on the disabled list to face the Nats.

Before he landed on the DL, Norris had been a rock for the Orioles. His 3.62 ERA is the best in Baltimore's rotation.

"He was pitching as well as any starter we had at the time," Showalter said. "I go with some caution in the next couple starts. It has been a little while."

Nationals: Washington mulls DH options
When the Nats head to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Wednesday, they'll have the luxury of utilizing a designated hitter.

Baltimore had to deal with no DH in an NL park on Monday -- reigning American League Player of the Week Steve Pearce had the day off as a result -- but Washington will have a few days to assess its situation.

Manager Matt Williams said Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth all could get a day off in Baltimore, and if LaRoche is out, then Zimmerman would play first.

"We have to look at the next couple of days and how we come out of it," the manager said. "We'll just have to see how it goes in the next couple."

Orioles: Gausman heads to Minors until All-Star break
Kevin Gausman is back in the Minors. The O's added an extra bullpen arm on Monday and sent Gausman to Triple-A Norfolk, where he will remain until after the All-Star break. He is expected to make at least one start for the Tides.

"Buck told me we needed a bullpen arm," said Gausman, who has been recalled and optioned back to the Minors three times during the past month. "It's just one of those things. It's happened a couple times this year and it's happened every time we go into extras, so I kind of saw it coming."

The short-term goal is to keep fresh arms in the Baltimore bullpen, but there's also a long-term benefit. Because Gausman isn't pitching full outings in the Minors, there isn't a risk that the team will have to shut him down late in the season.

"This allows us, if and when he comes back, to use him the rest of the year according to how the opposition lets him go in the game," Showalter said.

Worth noting
• Nelson Cruz took the Major League home run lead with his 28th of the year on Monday.

• Eight different O's players have at least 10 at-bats against Fister from the time he spent in the AL with the Mariners and Tigers. Outfielder Nick Markakis the best of the bunch with a .421 average, a home run and eight RBIs.

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