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Orioles lose series finale 6-5 and get swept by the Nationals

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On a sunny afternoon in our nation’s capital, the Orioles fell to the Nats for the third time in a row.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals
The Orioles infield huddles on the mound at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It was a subpar outing for starter Matt Harvey, but he managed to keep the Orioles in the game despite allowing six runs and not making it out of the fifth inning. The right-hander displayed good velocity and tossed some quality sliders, but didn’t have the results to show for it.

The Birds grabbed a three-run lead early with some well-placed hits in the first inning. They had four straight singles to begin the game, including a Trey Mancini RBI single through the right side of the infield and an RBI single by Anthony Santander between short and third. After a ground ball double play off the bat of Pedro Severino, Maikel Franco laced a two-out RBI double into the right field corner.

Franco entered the game with a .308 career average against Patrick Corbin and would add his second RBI later on. Unfortunately, the O’s third baseman would leave the game in the fifth.

Matt Harvey gave the lead to the Nats in the bottom half of the inning. Washington’s table-setter Trea Turner reached on an infield single and scored two batters later on a single by Josh Bell. Then former Cubs’ first-round pick Kyle Schwarber launched a sky-high two-run homer to right-center, and Washington scored their fourth run with back-to-back doubles by Josh Harrison and Alex Avila.

Baltimore made it a brand new ballgame in the third, knotting up the score at four. Mancini started the inning with another opposite field single to right and Santander followed with a ground rule double to left. Two batters later, Franco logged his second RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly.

The O’s had an injury scare in the bottom of the third when Josh Bell slid into third base on a fielder’s choice ground ball to Freddy Galvis. Franco went down and stayed down for a couple of minutes after taking hard contact to his right knee. But he was able to walk it off and stay in the game for the time being. A few innings later, the O’s third baseman was removed during a double-switch. In his postgame presser, manager Brandon Hyde expressed optimism about a quick return to action for Franco.

The Nats scratched their fifth run onto the scoreboard in the fourth with a double, infield single, sacrifice bunt, and finally, a sac fly off the bat of Trea Turner. Washington center fielder Andrew Stevenson showed off his blazing speed on the infield hit — a routine ground ball to short fielded cleanly by Galvis — when the throw to first was too late.

Hyde removed Harvey in the fifth inning with two runners on base — Starlin Castro reached on a Galvis throwing error and Josh Harrison singled — and two outs. Cole Sulser, one of the O’s more reliable relievers this season, entered the game and surrendered two consecutive walks to give the Nationals their sixth run.

Harvey’s final pitching line was 4.2 innings pitched, nine hits (including one home run), six runs, five earned runs, one walk, and six strikeouts. The fifth has been especially tough for the right-hander, as evidenced by his 12.71 ERA this year in that inning.

The Orioles drove home their fifth run in the seventh, courtesy of none other than Trey Mancini. Galvis led off with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Mancini delivered an RBI ground out.

The top of the Orioles lineup performed well today, as Austin Hays, Galvis, Mancini, and Santander collected two hits apiece and batted .444 as a group. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the Nationals and avoid a series sweep.

Despite allowing 11 hits and four runs, Nats starter Patrick Corbin pitched a full inning more than Harvey and exited with the lead. He was still in line for the win in the ninth with the Nats leading 6-5.

Brad Hand came in for the save opportunity and Stevie Wilkerson greeted him with a single to right and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hays. After a couple of quick outs, Nats manager Dave Martinez decided to follow the splits by walking Mancini to face Santander. The O’s first baseman entered play with a .328/.400/.689 slash line in 61 at-bats against lefties this year, while Santander came in hitting .211/.286/.263 in 19 at-bats against southpaws. The move paid off for Washington, as Hand struck out the Orioles’ right fielder on four pitches to close out the game.

With this three-game sweep at the hands of the Nationals, the Orioles’ losing streak extends to six games. And Baltimore will have to wait until late July for their next chance to face the Nats and potentially even up the season series.