Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - Steve Pearce hit a solo home run in the first and scored during a three-run third inning for the Baltimore Orioles, who held on to beat the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Thursday night.
Pearce's homer ended Gio Gonzalez's 22 scoreless innings streak. Gonzalez (6-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs -- three earned -- and six hits and striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings.
"It's a tough lineup," Gonzalez said. "I was just trying to do my best to keep my team in the game as long as possible."
Wei-Yin Chen (9-3) picked up the win, Baltimore's eighth in its last 10 games. He went 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits, while striking out six.
Washington loaded the bases in the eighth, but Darren O'Day got out of the jam for the Orioles, whose relief staff threw 3 1/3 shutout innings.
"We're confident men right now and we kind of feed off each other to keep that going," O'Day said.
Baltimore reached 50 wins in 91 games, the quickest it has done that since 1997, when it took 77.
The O's took the series, winning two of three games. The series between the Beltway rivals was scheduled to be four games, but Tuesday's matchup was postponed by rain and rescheduled for Aug. 4.
Pearce wasted no time putting the O's on the board with a line drive over the left-field wall for his 11th homer of the year.
The Orioles scored three times in the third. Nick Markakis walked with two away and Pearce singled on a soft liner to right. Adam Jones took a curveball the other way down the right-field line for a double to score Markakis and send Pearce to third. Nelson Cruz then hit a grounder to shortstop Ian Desmond, who tried to catch Jones running to third but threw the ball out of the reach of Anthony Rendon. The errant throw allowed Pearce and Jones to score.
The Nationals got one run back in the fourth. Rendon sent a line drive past Chen for a single. Then, with two outs, a fastball inside caught the jersey of Adam LaRoche, sending him to first. Ryan Zimmerman smacked the first pitch he saw up the middle to center. Jones' throw home was off the mark and allowed Rendon to score. Bryce Harper came to the plate with runners on second and third but was called out on strikes to end the inning.
The Nats got to Chen again in the sixth. Jayson Werth homered on an 0-2 pitch leading off, taking a curveball over the wall in left-center. Zimmerman hit a ground-rule double and Desmond sent Chen's next pitch high off the wall in right for a double, scoring Zimmerman. Chen was yanked and Tommy Hunter finished off the inning by getting the next batter to ground out.
The Nationals' best chance to tie or take the lead came in the eighth. After LaRoche hit a double off the center-field wall, Zimmerman struck out to bring up Harper, who was intentionally walked. After two off-speed pitches, O'Day threw four straight fastballs to Desmond. One tipped off catcher Caleb Joseph's glove, advancing the runners to second and third, and another connected with Desmond's thumb to load the bases. However, O'Day managed to get Wilson Ramos to fly out to center to end the inning.
Desmond stayed on the bases through the top half of the eighth, but came out after trying to take the field in the bottom of the inning due to his injured thumb.
Zach Britton came on in the ninth and induced four straight ground balls -- three ground outs -- to earn his 15th save of the season.