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WSH@BAL: Jackson hurls 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball

Offensive outbursts have helped the Nationals rebound from a recent lull that saw the club drop seven of 10 games. On Thursday, Washington will attempt to sustain the offense that led the club to consecutive double-digit performances and seek its first three-game winning streak since June 11-13.

"Our offense has been inconsistent all year, people injured and in and out," Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "We haven't done a good job of picking up runners. To get back-to-back nights like this and build some momentum going into the second half of the season."

"It's an opportunity to win another series," added Nats shortstop Ian Desmond.

However, while the Nationals' offense has left little doubt entering the series finale, scoring 23 runs over the past two games, Edwin Jackson has certainly left questions about his effectiveness at Coors Field.

The Mile High City has not been kind to the right-hander, who has been roughed up for 21 earned runs over three career starts (12 innings). Jackson has allowed 32 base runners in those 12 innings, while the opposition has hit .429 off him.

Despite his shaky history at Coors Field, Jackson is riding a hot streak. After going just 1-3 through his first 10 starts, the right-hander has rebounded to win three of his last four starts. During that stretch, Jackson has gone at least six innings in each start and allowed no more than two earned runs (2.30 ERA).

Squaring off against Jackson will be Josh Outman, who has endured his own struggles this season. Outman, who remains in search of his first victory of 2011, will make his sixth start of the season since moving into the rotation on June 1.

Stretching out the left-hander remains a goal for manager Jim Tracy. The Rockies skipper extended the previously mandated 75-pitch limit for Outman in his last start -- a guideline that was put in place for all starters when the club went from to a four-man rotation.

Instead, the southpaw reached 92 pitches in the outing. Outman has pitched five innings or fewer and has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last four starts and has an 8.40 ERA as a starter.

Nationals: Harper won't be homering at the Derby
• Matt Kemp, the National League captain for the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby, said on Wednesday that he will not choose rookie outfielder Bryce Harper to join in the competition.

Kemp told USA Today, "It's not because he's a rookie. It's just that there are other guys out there that are capable. He's going to have plenty of time to participate in many Home Run Derbies. Just not this year. Nothing against him. I love watching him play."

• Ian Desmond is wrapping up another impressive month. The Nationals shortstop is hitting .296 (27-for-91) in June, with four home runs and 16 RBIs. Desmond's 12 home runs have already surpassed the eight he hit last season, and he is well on his way to exceeding the 27 doubles and 49 RBIs he tallied in 154 games in 2011. Desmond has 39 RBIs and 21 doubles entering Thursday.

Rockies: Rookie holding down the hot corner
Rookie third baseman Jordan Pacheco has yet to hit a speed bump during his transition to the full-time job at third base.

Pacheco notched his third three-hit game of the season on Tuesday and had another multi-hit game on Wednesday. He is now hitting .306 (53-for-173) on the season, which ranks first among all National League rookies.

Additionally, Pacheco's 48 hits since May 15 ranks second among all rookies behind the Angels' Mike Trout's 60.

Worth noting
• The Nationals boast a 33-17 (.660) road record since Sept. 12, 2011, which is the best road mark in baseball during that span.

• The Rockies are just 7-18 in day games this season.

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