WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 3-0 win on Wednesday gave the Orioles their second victory in three days, but it was not enough to win them another series as the Birds dropped two of three at Nationals Park, leaving D.C. 21-52 overall.
Game 2 (3-0 BAL): The Orioles registered their fourth shutout win of the season, limiting the Nationals to five hits. Making his return off the 10-day disabled list from a back injury, Andrew Cashner cruised through the first four innings, allowing just three hits and striking out two. In the second inning, Jonathan Schoop singled to lead off the inning, and then Mark Trumbo crushed his fifth home run of the season to left field to give the Birds a 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately after the fourth inning, some rain/inclement weather conditions delayed the game for two hours and 43 minutes, which actually eclipsed the total duration of the game, which was two hours and 34 minutes. When the fifth inning finally began around 10:50 pm, the Orioles were retired 1-2-3. But in the sixth, Adam Jones hit a leadoff double and advanced to third on a Manny Machado fly-out to Bryce Harper. Harper also caught Danny Valencia‘s ensuing fly-out, but Jones scored the third and final run of the ballgame, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead they would not lose.
The Nationals threatened twice in the final four innings, but went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine on-base. Against Miguel Castro in the sixth, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon walked with one out, but Harper popped out to Machado and Daniel Murphy grounded out back to Castro for the final two outs. In the ninth following a line-out by Harper, Michael A. Taylor and Trea Turner singled off Brad Brach, who came into the inning after Zach Britton retired Harper. Wilmer Difo lined out to Schoop for the second out, but then Brach loaded the bases by walking Brian Goodwin. Mark Reynolds represented the potential winning run for Washington, but struck out looking on a 94-mph Brach fastball to give the O’s their second win in three games.
Game 3 (4-2 WSH): Hours after being activated off the 60-day disabled list (left hip flexor strain), Colby Rasmus, batting sixth and playing right field, hit a solo home run off Max Scherzer to put the Orioles up 1-0 in the top of the second inning. It was Rasmus’s first home run since May 27, 2017, when Rasmus was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.
In Washington’s half of the third inning, Difo led off with a single, and then Pedro Severino doubled to advance Difo to third. Scherzer followed that by striking out, and then Harper got Difo home on a fly ball to Jace Peterson in left field, tying the game at one.
The Orioles did not take long to get their lead back. In the top of the fourth, Mark Trumbo added his sixth home run of 2018, this one to centerfield. This marks Trumbo’s first career homer versus Scherzer in 16 at-bats.
In the Nationals’ portion of the sixth inning, Rendon hit the third home run of the game, and the first for Washington with a solo shot to centerfield, again with Gausman pitching. Gausman ended up exiting after the sixth inning, allowing two runs on four hits, four walks, and three strikeouts in his 15th start of the season.
After Gausman’s exit, Mychal Givens entered to pitch the seventh inning. Givens allowed Difo to hit a leadoff triple, but got Severino to ground out and Murphy to hit into an inning-ending 9-2 double play. Murphy hit a line-out to Rasmus in right field. Rasmus hurled the ball to Caleb Joseph at the plate, who applied the tag on Difo to get Givens out of it.
An inning later, Givens would not find similar success. The first hitter of the inning, Harper, doubled to get the newest Washington threat going. Harper shifted over to third when Turner singled to Jones in centerfield. After Givens struck out Rendon, Soto doubled to Peterson, scoring both Harper and Turner. Closer Sean Doolittle retired the side in the ninth, recording his 20th save of the season.
Up next: The Orioles continue their road trip in Atlanta against the Braves in what marks the O’s first time playing at Suntrust Park since the stadium’s inception in 2017. The Orioles will see a familiar face in Atlanta, Nick Markakis, who as of Jun. 19 led All-Star Game voting for National League outfielders. Markakis has never been named to an All-Star Game in his now 13-year career.
The Orioles have not played the Braves since 2015 when the Birds swept Atlanta in a three-game July series at Camden Yards. Friday’s game begins at 7:35, Saturday’s start time is 4:10, and first pitch for Sunday is slated for 1:35.
Image Credit: Carolyn Kaster, Baltimore Sun