Once again, it was a frustrating night for the Orioles at Camden Yards. Their starting pitching wasn’t terrible but every reliever allowed at least one run and the Nats kept finding ways to push across a run here and there. There were also numerous errors, mental and fielding alike. Not to mention, the Birds’ offense was virtually non-existent.
Baltimore managed only four hits the entire game, going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving seven men on base.
The Nationals, on the other hand, were 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They scored eight runs on 12 hits.
Yet again, Chance Sisco was unable to control the run game, allowing three stolen bases on the night. In 20 appearances at catcher with the O’s this season, Sisco has only thrown out three of 20 basestealers (15%).
Orioles starter Asher Wojciechowski fought through a 26-pitch first inning without allowing any runs. Trea Turner was hit by a pitch to start the game and later stole his 18th base of the year. But Wojciechowski got a pair of strikeouts against the Nats’ two best hitters to close out the inning; Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto went down swinging, back-to-back.
After Jonathan Villar started the home half of the first with a line out, the O’s loaded the bases on two hit batters and a walk. But they failed to score any runs, making the last two outs of the inning on a foul pop-up and a ground out.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Matt Adams hit his 14th home run of the season, pulling a changeup onto Eutaw Street. 1-0, Nationals. Then Wojo struck out the next two Washington batters to end the frame, just like the first inning.
Hanser Alberto, who came into the game with a .390 slugging percentage, answered Adams’ homer with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the second. Alberto’s home run, by contrast, barely got over the wall in left. But it still counts just the same. It was his fifth long ball of the year.
The Nationals were able to add a two-out run in the third on an RBI double by Rendon. He roped a ball that was just out of the reach of Trey Mancini’s outstretched glove against the wall in right. 2-0, Nationals.
Even though he was laboring through the early innings, Wojo was managing to miss a lot of bats. As is the case frequently, strikeouts require extra pitches. En route to racking up five strikeouts in three innings, the right-hander’s pitch count had risen to 67.
Back to the offense, Trey Mancini was able to break out of his recent hitless streak in the third. It was his second at-bat of the game when he tapped a soft ground ball over the first base bag, past Adams and down the line in right. He ended up at second base with a double but was stranded there to end the inning.
After a couple scoreless innings, the Nats hit their second home run of the game — a solo shot to center field off the bat of Soto. It was his 17th of the year. Woj retired the next hitter on a fly out, but was removed from the game at that point by manager Brandon Hyde. The righty’s final pitching line included six hits, three earned runs, zero walks and seven strikeouts in 5.1 innings. He threw 95 pitches (59 strikes) and allowed two home runs, both of the solo variety.
Shawn Armstrong came on with one out in the sixth and promptly struck out the first batter he saw, Matt Adams. With two outs, Hunter Dozier reached on an infield single that glanced off the glove of Armstrong and rolled into no-man’s land between the mound and second base. Dozier then stole second base, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a balk. 4-1, Nationals. Victor Robles struck out to end the sixth.
On a play reminiscent of the Orioles’ 2019 season, Renato Nunez made a costly mental error on the base paths to begin the bottom of the sixth. After lining a ball to the gap in left center, he took a big turn around first and slammed on the brakes, but then decided to go for second anyway. He was thrown out by a wide margin for the first out of the inning. Anthony Santander then grounded out and Dwight Smith Jr. flied out. Another inning in the books and another missed opportunity to bring the score closer.
The Nats tacked on yet another run in the seventh after Rendon doubled to drive home Adam Eaton, who had had stolen second base after reaching on a two-out walk. O’s reliever Miguel Castro had retired the first two Nats in the inning fairly quickly before getting into trouble. 5-1, Nationals.
More insurance for Washington in the eighth in the form of an unearned run off Jimmy Yacabonis. Dozier walked with two outs and advanced on a pickoff attempt throwing error. Robles then singled to drive home the Nats sixth run of the game.
Additional scoring occurred in the ninth for — you guessed it — the Nationals. Taylor Scott allowed an RBI single to left off the bat of Soto and Adams followed with an RBI single of his own to right. 8-1, Nationals.
The Birds went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, sealing the victory for the guys from DC. Baltimore has now lost four of five games at home since coming back from the All-Star break. They will play the series finale against Washington tomorrow night before getting another off day Thursday.