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Hess struggles again and Nationals out slug Orioles in 9-7 loss

The Orioles came out on the wrong side of an offensive battle, losing 9-7 in the series opener to the Nationals in DC.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

This particular game was light on pitching and heavy on offense. Davis Hess did not make it out of the fifth inning, allowing five runs in 4.2 innings. Tanner Scott gave up three runs over the course of one third of an inning and Mike Wright allowed one run over 1.2 innings. Miguel Castro (third of an inning) and Mychal Givens (1 inning) both had scoreless outings.

Hess retired the first five batters of the game before giving up a solo home run to Trea Turner in the bottom of the second. Turner would go on to have a 4-for-4 night with one RBI and two runs scored. He was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

The Orioles did have a 5-1 lead until the bottom of the fifth. In the top of the third, Jace Peterson launched a two-run home run to right field with Hess on first base. In the fourth inning, Trey Mancini hit a two-out two-run home run after Mark Trumbo led off the inning with a single.

In the past 30 days, Mancini was hitting .160/.218/.255. In the last seven days, he was hitting .150/.150/.150. Tonight he was 1-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored.

The Orioles also scored a run in the fifth, but wasted a prime opportunity to blow the game wide open when Manny Machado grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, scoring just one run in the process. Mark Trumbo would follow Machado to the plate and promptly struck out to end the threat.

The Nationals had big innings in the fifth and the seventh, scoring four runs in each of those frames. In the fifth inning, the Nats loaded the bases against Hess, starting with a single by none other than Trea Turner. Two runs then scored on a ground ball that skipped just past Manny Machado’s outstretched glove deep in the hole at shortstop, finding its way into left field.

After a walk to Juan Soto reloaded the bases in the fifth, Anthony Rendon hit a sacrifice fly to center, 5-4 Nationals. Then Bryce Harper doubled on a bloop hit behind third base and the game was tied at five. Miguel Castro came on in relief of Hess and put out the fire, getting a groundout to first base to end the inning.

It was a brand new ballgame in the sixth and the Orioles responded swiftly by scratching across a run. The O’s loaded the bases with one out and Corban Joseph came to the plate to pinch hit for Castro. He grounded into a fielder’s choice, with the runner out at second and a run scoring. 6-5, Orioles.

But the Birds effectively ran themselves out of the sixth. Schoop got tagged out in a rundown after a groundout to the pitcher, during which he did not have to run at all. Maybe he was trying to interfere with the potential double play, but who knows.

And then later in the inning, with two outs, the Orioles attempted a double steal that wound up backfiring. Corban Joseph beat Spencer Kieboom’s throw to second base, but Trea Turner received the ball and fired it back to the catcher to nab Trey Mancini at the plate. Inning over.

The offensive barrage continued in the home half of the seventh, when the Nats scored four more runs. With Tanner Scott pitching, Anthony Rendon had a two-run double. With Mike Wright relieving Scott, the Nationals scored two more runs, on a ground ball past a diving Machado and on a single to center field. By the end of the seventh it was 9-6, Nationals.

In order to get to the end of the inning, the Orioles turned in back to back rundown plays successfully. On a ground ball to the mound, Mike Wright ran directly at the runner between third and home, who was eventually tagged out. At that time, the Orioles caught the trail runner between second and third, where he was tagged out to end the inning.

Joey Rickard hit a solo home run with one out in the ninth inning off of closer Sean Doolittle to bring the Orioles within two. But Craig Gentry flew out to deep left and Adam Jones flew out to center and that was that.

The Nationals took the series opener in an offensive onslaught, 9-7, ensuring that they will win the season series against the Orioles. They have won four games against Baltimore so far this year, with only two left to go.