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BOS@BAL: Norris pitches eight scoreless innings

The Orioles and Nationals head to Baltimore for the second game of what will be a shortened Beltways Series on Wednesday after Tuesday's contest in Washington was rained out. A makeup game will be played Aug. 4.

O's starter Bud Norris, who was supposed to start on Tuesday, will make his first start since returning from the 15-day disabled list.

Norris, a 29-year-old right-hander, was reinstated prior to Tuesday's rainout. He has posted a 7-5 record with a 3.62 ERA -- the best in Baltimore's rotation -- this season.

"He was pitching as well as any starter we had at the time," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Norris' success prior to his injury. "I go with some caution in the next couple starts. It has been a little while."

Doug Fister, who was also supposed to start on Tuesday, will take the mound for the Nationals.

Fister (7-2) has posted a 2.93 ERA and a 42-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11 starts this season.

His last time out, Fister took a 4-3 win over the Rockies, allowing three runs on seven hits without walking a batter. His walk rate (0.76 per nine innings) this season is outstanding and would pace the Majors if he qualified. Fister has walked one or none in 13 of his past 14 starts.

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

Orioles: Norris reinstated; DePaula DFA'd
The O's reinstated Norris from the disabled list on Tuesday and designated Julio DePaula for assignment to clear a roster spot.

Norris, who was placed on the DL retroactive to June 22 with a right groin strain, was deemed good to go after a two-inning simulated game on Saturday at Fenway Park.

DePaula had his contract purchased from Double-A Bowie prior to Monday's game and served as bullpen insurance given the club's doubleheader on Saturday and 12-inning game on Sunday.

Nationals: Harper trying to find his timing since return
Entering Wednesday, outfielder Bryce Harper has gone 4-for-24 (.167) with 10 strikeouts in seven games since returning from two-month layoff because of a torn left thumb ligament.

Both Harper and manager Matt Williams have said it will take the 21-year-old slugger some time to get back. Timing at the plate is crucial for Major League hitters, and missing 57 games makes it increasingly difficult to judge a 95-mph fastball compared to an offspeed pitch.

"I think expectation has a lot to do with it," Williams said. "I think we're all human, and regardless of the job we do or who we are in relation to Bryce, we all expect greatness. And so when it's not, there's a bigger emphasis. The light bulb goes on, it's a bigger spotlight, all of those things.

"Everybody goes through slumps. Everybody has injuries. Everybody that comes back from a long layoff has timing issues and needs to get back in the game. But I think with Bryce especially, that spotlight shines a little bit brighter than most folks, so there's a bigger emphasis. I will tell you this, though: I think he'll be just fine."

Worth noting
• The Nats' Anthony Rendon is a National League Final Vote candidate, and he was in fourth place in the voting as of Tuesday.

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

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

• The O's lead the Battle of the Beltways, 27-20. Comments