Latest outing encouraging to Nats' Duke

BALTIMORE -- Nationals left-hander Zach Duke had his best outing Tuesday, pitching 1 2/3 innings without allowing a run in a 9-3 victory over the Orioles.

Duke entered the game in the fifth inning after right-hander Nathan Karns walked two consecutive batters. Duke came in and induced Nick Markakis to hit into a double play to end the threat. Duke then had a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

Duke, who threw only one offspeed pitch during game, said fastball command was the reason he was successful on Tuesday.

"It was good. I wanted to go out there, be efficient, get outs. In a situation, [where I needed to step up], it felt good," Duke said.

Duke believes his success on Tuesday can carry over into the season. He is off to a slow start, allowing 18 earned runs in 20 innings.

"It's a work in progress. It will continue to work out. We are going to go forward from here," Duke said.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Andrew Simon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.