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Orioles beat Nationals, 4-3; Britton records 38th save in clutch win

It wasn't easy, but the Orioles managed to find a way to win in a Monday night rivalry game. Mark Trumbo and Dylan Bundy both led the way to the 68th win of the season.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Strasburg was an early scratch for the Nationals, so the Orioles had an opportunity to take advantage of AAA call-up, A.J. Cole. How did the Birds fare on a Monday night at Camden Yards? Read the winning recap below.

The recap

Before the Orioles could get their first chance against Cole, Dylan Bundy allowed the Nationals to strike early in the top of the first. After he walked Trea Turner to lead off the inning, a stolen base and Daniel Murphy single led to the first run of the ballgame.

Werth poked a ground ball up the middle out to center, scoring Turner to make it 1-0 Nationals. Bundy would get out of the inning, but not before laboring through the first frame, hitting a batter and tossing 24 pitches in total.

When Cole did get a chance to take the mound, he wasted no time introducing himself to the fans in Baltimore. He whiffed Adam Jones and Hyun-Soo Kim before getting Manny Machado to weakly fly to center — a perfect 10-pitch inning.

Bundy continued to struggle pinpointing his arsenal early, but he did manage to work through the next pair of innings without allowing any more notches in the runs column.

He compiled three walks and 53 pitches through his first three innings, but the resiliency shined across from Cole’s impressive start. With the help of a legitimate mid-70s curveball and an inning-ending double play in the third, he fought to keep the Orioles within reach.

Fortunately, Jonathan Schoop utilized his first at-bat to provide his starter with a brand new ballgame.

In the bottom of the third, Schoop golfed an inside fastball just over the left-field foul pole to tie the game at one. The Nationals would challenge the call, but the ball clearly took a direct path over the top of the pole, exactly what the reviewers in New York saw.

The leadoff long-ball was Schoop’s 20th of the season.

Anthony Rendon countered in the next half-inning by taking Bundy deep to centerfield, but the Orioles couldn’t be kept down for long.

In the bottom of the fourth, Manny Machado ripped a leadoff double to left to start a barrage against Cole. After he doubled, Chris Davis roped a ball to right that landed just in front of Bryce Harper, allowing Machado to cross the dish to tie the game.

With the game tied at two and Davis occupying second, it was Mark Trumbo’s turn to inflict some damage. He crushed a fastball as hard as he’s hit one all season long to left-field, easily notching his 38th home run of the season.

Three batters, three extra-base hits, three runs.

Just like that, the Orioles held a 4-2 lead for Bundy to work with in the top of the fifth.

With the possibility of a win and a quality start handed to him, the right-hander made quick work of the Nationals in the fifth and sixth innings. Bundy didn’t allow a hit in either frame, settling down and hitting spots to wrap up what ended up being one of his grittiest performances of the season.

He set down Washington in order in the top of the sixth, finishing his night with a more-than-respectable line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K.

Aside from the early command issues, Bundy impressed against a very good Washington team. More importantly, he handed the ballgame to the back-end of the Orioles bullpen with a chance to get the win. What more could you ask?

A smooth-sailing win looked to be on the horizon when Mychal Givens entered in the seventh, but he quickly reminded us that when it comes to Orioles baseball, nothing is a guarantee.

The first batter he saw was eight-hole hitter Danny Espinosa, who entered the game hitting .216. On a 3-2 count, the shortstop took a fastball to left-center, clearing the fence crunching the Orioles lead to just a single run. Givens would quickly retire the next three hitters, but the damage was already done.

Heading into the seventh-inning stretch, it was 4-3 Orioles.

The offense was held off the board yet again in the bottom of the seventh, setting up the eighth inning for Donnie Hart and Brad Brach.

Hart entered and immediately surrendered a double to Daniel Murphy, but he caught a stroke of luck when Bryce Harper bounced it right back to the mound. The left-hander caught Murphy taking one too many steps off the bag, getting the first out of the inning on a critical fielder’s choice.

Brach entered and preserved the lead, the offense faltered again in the eighth, and the most beloved closer in Baltimore took center stage for a stressful ninth inning of work.

In truth, the recap probably could’ve just ended there. With Zach Britton on the hill, the story writes itself.

Espinosa struck out on a sinker, Chris Heisey grounded out to Machado and Turner went down swinging.

One-two-three is how it went, in classic Zach Britton fashion. With the win, the Orioles move to 68-56 with Britton picking up his career-high 38th save.

Reynaldo Lopez takes the hill for the Nationals tomorrow against Kevin Gausman in the second and final Camden Yards edition of the O’s/Nats four-game series.

Other notes

  • Cole’s outing might’ve been dented with the Orioles’ big fourth-inning, but he certainly did his job of preserving Washington’s bullpen. He went seven strong innings, striking out eight and walking just two.
  • Mark Trumbo picked up his 91st and 92nd RBI. His career high is 100, a number he reached in 2013.
  • Zach Britton’s ERA is now 0.53 in 53 games. Yes, according to sources, that’s pretty good.