There was no consistent or significant spike in Brian Matusz's velocity, but for five innings Saturday afternoon, the young left-hander made enough quality pitches to provide encouragement for a team desperately in need of it.

But any good sentiment was gone by the time Matusz limped off the mound in the sixth inning, two batters after Washington Nationals first baseman Michael Morse broke a tie by driving an 87 mph fastball into the home bullpen for a two-run home run.

Matusz, who needed help from one of the team's athletic trainers to get down the dugout steps, was diagnosed with left hamstring cramps and isn't expected to miss his next start. That was about the only good news for the Orioles, who fell, 4-2, in front of an announced 36,614 at Nationals Park and are a season-high six games under .500.

The Orioles (31-37) have lost six of their past seven games, are just 1-4 on this road trip and have dropped 10 of their past 12 contests away from Camden Yards.

"We don't live in that world," manager Buck Showalter said when asked how frustrating this road trip has been. "It's a realistic world. I don't think the road trip is over. We'll be here tomorrow. We don't live in that 'woe is me, the sky is falling' thing. You keep grinding. We had some good things happen and just haven't been consistent as a whole. We look at tomorrow as the start of that."

The Nationals (35-36), meanwhile, have won eight straight games, their longest streak since August 2009. They'll go for a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon with the Orioles badly in need of a strong outing from Chris Jakubauskas, a few clutch hits from an offense that appears allergic to them these days and one day without their losing a key performer.

Two innings before Matusz left the game, left fielder Luke Scott was removed because of recurring back spasms. Neither player expects to be sidelined for an extended stretch.

"I've had cramps before during a game where you'll feel a cramp in your hamstring [and] you're able to walk it off," said Matusz, who was removed from the game after first baseman Derrek Lee noticed him grimacing and summoned Showalter and the athletic training staff to the mound. "Today, I felt the cramp and my next pitch it was still locked up. I just didn't have everything behind it. It was just one of those things with the hot day and everything. We'll take care of it and move forward."