How about that for a change in momentum?
The Orioles, fresh off a brutal four-game sweep, exploded offensively to pummel the Nationals in the first of a three game series. Baltimore scored early and often, and just about everyone played a part in the onslaught of Washington’s pitching staff. The scoreboard read 11-0 when it was all said and done.
The Birds got the party started in the first with a one-out double by Anthony Santander. José Iglesias followed with a double of his own that plated the team’s first run. Iglesias, who has nursed a sore quad for the past week, appeared completely healthy today. He started at short, and recorded four hits in his first four at bats.
The Havana native drove in three, and scored a run of his own. He may not be a prototypical three hitter, but he’s certainly looked the part so far.
After a scoreless first by Baltimore starter Tommy Milone, the Orioles’ offense picked right back up. Rio Ruiz, back in the lineup for the first time since Saturday, worked a lead off walk. Chris Davis, yes Chris Davis, followed with a double that put two in scoring position. Austin Hays drove in the second run of the game with a single to center, and Davis eventually came around on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-0.
After a scoreless third, Hanser Alberto led off the fourth with a double to left field. Iglesias delivered again with a single to center, and the Birds led by four.
Meanwhile, Opening Day starter Tommy Milone was cruising.
Milone retired the side in order in the second and third innings. The Nationals threatened in the fourth after a pair of singles and a hit by pitch, but Milone manufactured an inning-ending groundball by former Pirate Josh Harrison.
Milone sent the Nats down in order again in the fifth, and put himself in position for his first win of the season. After another big inning by the Baltimore bats, Milone came out for another 1-2-3 inning after a long half inning on the bench.
The O’s offense was the story of the game, but Milone’s performance cannot go unnoticed. After Wade LeBlanc failed to escape the fourth inning last night, Milone spared the bullpen with six strong frames. If Baltimore can carry this momentum to a series victory, a fresh ‘pen could play a huge role— especially with Tom Eshelman making his first start of the season tomorrow.
Milone left the game with a final line of 6 innings, 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs. I’d like to say the lack of walks stands out, but every number in that stat line pops. Outings like these could keep Milone in the rotation long term, and would certainly lead to a few more Baltimore victories.
Milone’s long rest in the sixth was a product of more firepower from the Birds’ lineup. Santander and Iglesias set the table with a pair of singles, and Renato Núñez went deep for the third time in two games. Núñez blasted an absolute no-doubter 413 feet to left-center field, and a pair of doubles by Dwight Smith Jr. and Pedro Severino put the O’s ahead by eight.
Núñez broke the game open with his Earl Weaver special, which allowed Baltimore to rest its high-leverage relievers. Travis Lakins worked a clean seventh inning, then skipper Brandon Hyde decided an 11 run lead was safe enough to release David Hess.
To his credit, Hess worked two shutout innings to finish the game. He may have walked the leadoff batter with a double-digit lead in the eighth, but a fielder’s choice and a double-play ball were enough to do the trick. He preserved the shutout, and prevented another reliever from having to work.
The Orioles put the finishing touches on the blowout victory in the seventh inning. After a pair of knocks by Hays and Alberto, Hays scored on a fielder’s choice. Iglesias extended the lead to double digits with a fly ball to center. The sacrifice fly marked his only at bat without a base hit. Is that good?
Severino finished the offensive outburst with an RBI single to left. Severino went 3-5 in the contest, and called a quality game behind the plate.
The Orioles finished with 11 runs, 19 hits, 7 doubles, and the homer by Núñez. They went 6-18 with runners in scoring position, and managed to leave an additional 14 runners on base.
This is exactly the type of game the team needed. Baltimore may only be commuting to the nation’s capital, but the outing shifted the tide like a road trip to the west coast. The Birds left behind the stink of a four-game sweep by the Marlins, and absolutely took it to the Nationals in the first of three.
Chris Davis had not one, but two hits in this game. David Hess tossed two scoreless innings. These types of things do not happen everyday. Everything came together, with eight different batters recording at least one base hit. Seven of the eight had multi-hit games.
Nationals starter Aníbal Sánchez managed to work into the sixth inning before being chased away. Relievers Ryne Harper and Wander Suero both allowed three runs each.
The Orioles have now scored 18 runs in their last two games after managing only one in their previous three contest. They’ll look to take the series with Eshelman on the mound tomorrow at 6:05 p.m.
Who was the most Birdland player for Friday, August 7?
This poll is closed
José Iglesias (4-4, 3 RBI, 2B, R, Sac Fly)
Renato Núñez (2-4, 3-run HR, 2 R, BB,)
Pedro Severino (3-5, 2 RBI, caught a shutout)
Tommy Milone (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB)