After a feel-good and rather speedy completion of their previously suspended game against the Nationals this afternoon, nothing went right for the Orioles in the nightcap. The game started with a nearly two-hour rain delay, featured sloppy defense, bad pitching, and very little offense. It ended with a bit of a nightmare out of the bullpen that saw one pitcher give up two inherited runs and six of his own in less than two innings before being bailed out by a position player pitching.
The end result was a 15-3 loss that didn’t end until after midnight, and a six-game win streak snapped.
Milone’s Tough Night
Things didn’t go as hoped for starting pitcher Tommy Milone. In his last game, Milone also pitched against the Nationals and had a very good performance, going six shutout innings. It would have been great to see a repeat but that was just too tall of an order.
Milone had a nice 1-2-3 first inning, but that’s where the niceties ended for him. Juan Soto started the second inning by scorching a ball back up the center for a single. With one out, Soto was replaced on the base path by rookie Luis García, who hit into a fielder’s choice. A single from Carter Kieboom put runners on the corners with two outs, then some bad defense struck.
Yan Gomes hit a fly ball to right field that was going to be a hit no matter what. But as it started to sink in front of Anthony Santander, Santander made the unfortunate decision to try and dive. The ball skipped past him, giving plenty of time for both runners to score and resulting in a triple for Gomes. Gomes is a catcher, it was his first triple since 2016.
Santander had given the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the first with his 5th home run of the year, but his misplay helped put the Orioles in a 2-1 hole. They wouldn’t take the lead again.
The third inning was worse and felt like death by paper cuts. There was a ground ball that shortstop José Iglesias couldn’t get a handle on. Another ground ball that flummoxed Hanser Alberto for an error. And a would-be double play ball that Iglesias couldn’t get out of his glove (because the ball was wet is my generous reasoning). That all resulted in one run scored and an extended inning.
Milone then gave up three straight singles to Howie Kendrick, García, and Carter Kieboom. All three were just out of the reach of any fielders, but at least Kieboom’s was hit hard. Kendrick’s single had an exit velocity of just 62.6 mph and García’s was 71.3 mph. They were just hit to the right spots. When the dust settled, the Nationals were ahead 5-1.
They added a sixth run off of Milone in the fourth inning via sac fly, and after completing four innings, his night mercifully came to an end.
It’s Keegan Time!
After Milone’s departure, the moment came that Orioles fans had been waiting for since Keegan Akin’s call up almost a week ago. Usually when a player makes his debut we get lots of camera shots of his family looking on excitedly from the stands. Sadly this year that can’t happen, but MASN played a video message from his family as Akin warmed up. That was pretty nice.
Akin got off to a nice start, retiring the side in order. The second batter, García, struck out swinging for Akin’s first major league strikeout. Akin retired the first batter of the sixth inning as well to make it four in a row before walking Victor Robles. He bounced back with a ground out and a fly out to end the inning.
The first run scored off of Akin in the majors came at the start of the seventh inning when Asdrúbal Cabrera homered into the center field seats, a modest shot that gave the Nationals a 7-1 lead. But Akin settled down and got the next three to end the inning.
If that had been the end of Akin’s night, things would have looked a lot better for his pitching line. But he came back out for the eighth inning. A hit batter and a double later and Akin’s night was over. Unfortunately for his ERA, both of those runs would come in to score.
Enter Cody Carroll, who was called up as an extra man since the Orioles were playing two games today. You may remember that Carroll was pretty bad his first go round with the team this year. Well, that continued tonight. Honestly, he was the sacrificial lamb. The score when he came in was 7-2 and the Nats’ lead felt even bigger than that. So we had to sit through the Cody Carroll experience.
The Cody Carroll experience goes something like this: strikeout (yay!), single, single, walk, single, sacrifice fly, wild pitch, double, ground out. In fairness to Carroll, one of those singles was a pop fly to the outfield that should have been caught. Instead there was miscommunication between Austin Hays and Dwight Smith, Jr., and it fell in. The whole thing was bad.
Carroll was back out in the ninth and couldn’t manage to get three outs. With two outs and one run in, he turned the ball over to position player Bryan Holaday. Holaday was also bad, but he has the excuse of not being a pitcher. And hey, he only gave up one run! That made it 15-3 in favor of the Nats.
A Lacking Offense
The Orioles actually had a lead at one point in this game! As previously mentioned, Santander homered off of starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Unfortunately, Strasburg couldn’t complete the first inning due to injury. You really hate to see that, sincerely.
Replacing Strasburg was Erick Fedde, who did a very good job containing the Orioles. In his 5.1 innings pitched, Fedde gave up just two singles and three walks. Only once, in the fifth inning, did they have more than one runner on in an inning. The Orioles never looked even close to breaking through against him.
They scraped across a single run in the seventh after Fedde left the game. Relief pitcher Will Harris walked Austin Hays then gave up an RBI double to Hanser Alberto. A third run came in the eighth inning when Smith knocked in Andrew Velazquez, who had doubled as a pinch hitter.
The Orioles went down 1-2-3 in the ninth and this hideous game finally came to an end. The winning streak is over, but going 6-1 over your last seven isn’t bad. They’ll be back in action tomorrow at 7:35 with Asher Wojciechowski on the mound.