Andrew Cashner was pitching well, Mark Trumbo hit a two-run bomb, and the Orioles appeared to be cruising to a rare road win. Then came the rain. Nearly three hours later, the Orioles took the field and picked up where they left off. Baltimore shut out the Nationals, 3-0, and picked up its first win of the year against Washington.
The Orioles took control of the game in the top of the second. Jonathan Schoop led off with a rare bunt down the third baseline that saw him reach without a throw. With Schoop on first, Mark Trumbo blasted a 1-0, hanging curve ball over the left field fence. The ball traveled 427 feet, and the Orioles held a two-run advantage.
Cashner did not allow a run in his four innings pitched. He snuck out of trouble in the first, but the inning caused the entire Orioles organization to hold its breath for a moment. After a Juan Soto double and Anthony Rendon single put runners on the corners, Bryce Harper hit a ground ball to first base. Mark Trumbo quickly stepped on the bag and fired a low throw to second base. Machado corralled the throw and made a quick play to tag out Rendon, but he paid a price.
Rendon’s elbow swung out and popped Machado in the face. The shortstop laid on the ground for what felt like an eternity, but was realistically only a few seconds, before popping up and returning to the dugout. The Orioles escaped the inning without surrendering a run and Machado’s health still intact. Rendon would later apologize to Manny in the field, and both players smiled.
Cashner retired eight straight batters before Rendon doubled with one out in the fourth inning. Cashner got Harper to line out to left, and Daniel Murphy grounded out to end the inning.
With Gio Gonzalez warming up before the top of the fifth inning, umpire Jerry Meals signaled for the grounds crew to bring out the tarp. The delay lasted 2 hours and 43 minutes.
Neither starting pitcher would take the mound after the delay, but Cashner still made a puzzling appearance. With one down and the bases empty in the fifth, Buck Showalter elected to let Cashner hit. He struck out on four pitches, and the Orioles conceded any offensive threat in the inning.
Adam Jones started the sixth inning with a double off the left-center field wall. The Orioles then used a pair of fly balls to pick up an insurance run. Machado and Danny Valencia both hit deep drives to center, with the first advancing Jones and the second scoring the center fielder.
Miguel Castro came in to pitch once the game resumed. After an efficient fifth inning, Castro walked two National hitters to bring up Bryce Harper. Machado jogged in to have a quick conversation with Castro, and Harper popped up to Machado for the second out. Daniel Murphy hit a comebacker to Castro on the first pitch of his at bat, and the Orioles escaped with the shutout intact.
Craig Gentry legged out an opposite field triple with two outs in the seventh, and Showalter sent Joey Rickard to hit for Castro. Rickard worked the count full before being called out on a pitch that appeared to be outside. The Orioles briefly protested the call, but the score remained 3-0.
Darren O’Day pitched a one-two-three seventh inning with two strikeouts. After the Orioles went down in order in the eighth, Showalter sent Zach Britton out to pitch the bottom half of the frame. Britton walked one, struck out two and recorded a ground out by Rendon.
Apparently Showalter liked what he saw from Britton, because he left him in to face Harper in the ninth. Harper laced a sharp line drive to first base for the first out.
Brad Brach came in to close things out, and he proceeded to load the bases. The Orioles old pal Mark Reynolds stepped into the box representing the go-ahead run. Brach spotted a 94 MPH fastball on the corner, and Reynolds went down looking.
All of a sudden, the Orioles have a chance to win the series tonight. They just have to beat Max Scherzer.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Wednesday night/Thursday Morning
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Mark Trumbo (two-run home run)
Andrew Cashner (Four scoreless innings)
The bullpen (five scoreless innings after the rain delay)