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BAL@WSH: LaRoche jacks his second homer of the game

This is what the Nationals have come to expect from Adam LaRoche.

After a typically slow start, LaRoche has finally found a groove. He is hitting .356 in his last 25 games with four doubles, seven home runs, 19 RBIs and a triple during that span.

He homered twice Tuesday night, his third multihomer game of the season, and went 1-for-3 in Wednesday's 9-6 loss to the O's. He hopes to have the same kind of success Thursday against Baltimore starter Freddy Garcia.

The Nationals will counter on Thursday with Dan Haren.

"Well, we're kind of used to seeing that. I know he struggled early on -- that's his M.O.," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of LaRoche. "But he was vital last year from Day 1 and having him -- and now the way [Ryan Zimmerman] is swinging the bat, too -- I feel like he's getting a little more aggressive. And so I think you're going to see more extra-base hits from him."

LaRoche hit .136 with three home runs and eight RBIs in April.

"I'm way more comfortable than I was early on," LaRoche said. "But similar to last year, I feel like last year I was able to piece it together and stay away from those two or three huge, long ruts. So I got one out of the way this year, and I'll just try to ride this out."

As for Garcia, the veteran right-hander earned his first victory of the season by tossing five innings of three-run ball against the Blue Jays on Saturday. He didn't walk a batter for the first time in five starts and threw a season-high 103 pitches.

Haren struck out 10 batters against the Phillies in his last outing. The veteran allowed three runs on just four hits.

Nationals: Harper still hurting, but Nats hopeful

• Bryce Harper has missed the last the three games because of bursitis in his left knee. There's a chance he could return during the three-game series against the Braves this weekend.

"Well, we're just trying to let some of the swelling go down and some of the inflammation. And however long that takes is how long it takes," Johnson said.

• Denard Span has hit safely in 10 straight games. He has a .311 average with four doubles and a triple during that span.

• The Nats are 23-5 when scoring three or more runs this season and 4-21 when scoring two or fewer runs.

Orioles: Davis blazing at the plate

• Chris Davis is batting .433 with nine doubles, nine walks, 10 homers, 19 runs scored and 20 RBIs since May 9. He has a .600 batting average in his last seven games.

He finished 4-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs on Wednesday.

"I think Chris has got a grip on how hard it is to be consistent with this," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "For a power hitter, he's been pretty consistent so far. I think he understands that he's respected and guys are going to be very cautious with him."

• The Orioles are 130-161 all-time in Interleague Play, including a 4-4 record this season.

• J.J. Hardy has hit in 21 of his last 24 games and is hitting .313 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs during that span.

Worth noting

• The O's lead the series, 25-20, since MLB returned to D.C. in 2005.

• The Nationals are 6-2 against the American League this season.

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