The start of right-hander Nathan Karns' MLB debut was delayed by rain. Washington's 25-year-old '09 12th Round pick and the Baltimore Orioles' 22-year-old 2012 1st Round selection Kevin Gausman were scheduled to go head-to-head at 7:05 pm EST in Nationals Park, but a half an hour before the first pitch was to be thrown the tarp was rolled out onto the field and rain began to fall in the nation's capital...
An hour and twenty-one minutes later the skies cleared and Karns threw his first pitch, a 94 mph fastball that missed inside, at 8:26 pm EST in D.C. A 95 mph 2-1 heater to Nate McLouth got Karns the first out of his major league career on a groundout to second that Steve Lombardozzi handled. A 95 mph 3-2 fastball got the same result out of 22-year-old O's third baseman Manny Machado. Adam LaRoche fielded a grounder from Nick Markakis as he fell into foul territory behind first, and the Nats' Gold Glove-winning first baseman turned and threw to the covering pitcher to end an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 first by the debuting starter.
Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman singled in succession with one out in the bottom of the first, lining pitches from Kevin Gauzman to left and center, respectively, after Denard Span grounded out to start the frame. The Orioles' starter fell behind Adam LaRoche, 2-0, then fed the left-handed slugger a 97 mph center-cut fastball that ended up in the seats in right above the out-of-town scoreboard on a three-run blast by the Nats' first baseman. No.9 of 2013 for LaRoche. 3-0 Nats after one in Washington.
Adam Jones got hold of a 2-0 fastball from Karns, but flew out to center for the first out of the O's second. Chris Davis lined an 0-1 change outside to right for a one-out single and the first hit off Nathan Karns. Matt Wieters sent a 1-2 fastball by LaRoche at first and off the edge of the stands that jut out into right down the line. Davis scored from first on the double to make it a 3-1 game, and Wieters took third on the third straight hit when J.J. Hardy singled over short. A 95 mph 1-2 fastball knee-high outside got Yamaico Navarro swinging for out no.2, however, and a 2-2 heater to the opposing pitcher made it three outs and 2 Ks for Karns in 2.0 IP after which he had a 3-1 lead. 25-pitch inning, 36 overall after two.
The long-legged, 6'3'' Gausman, the 4th overall pick in the draft last June, gave up a one-out bloop single to center by Nats' catcher Kurt Suzuki, but his counterpart helped him out with a bunt that came off his bat too hard to a charging Manny Machado who started a 5-4-3 inning-ending DP with a throw to second. 3-1 Nats after two in Nationals Park.
Steve Lombardozzi was backing up Adam LaRoche when a hard-hit grounder from Nate McLouth got under the first baseman's glove. Lombo recovered it and threw to Karns covering at first just in time for the first out of the O's third. Lombardozzi spun on one knee after snagging a grounder from Machado and threw to first for out no.2. A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 3rd for Nathan Karns ended when Nick Markakis flew out to left to leave the Nats' starter at 49 overall on the night. Gauzman threw seven pitches, all of them strikes, and retired the Nats in order in the bottom of the frame. Still 3-1 Nationals.
A 95 mph 1-2 fastball upstairs to Adam Jones popped the O's outfielder up for out no.1 of the fourth. A 95 mph 1-2 fastball up in the zone to Chris Davis ended up in the right field bullpen for Davis' 17th home run of 2013. 3-2 game. Nathan Karns dropped a 3-2 change on Matt Wieters and got a groundout to first, but a 2-0 fastball to J.J. Hardy was hit out into the left field pen for a game-tying, two-out blast. 3-3 in D.C. A fly to center by Yamaico Navarro ended a 23-pitch frame. 72 overall for Karns after four.
A 3-2 forkball (acc to Gameday) missed outside as Kevin Gausman walked Adam LaRoche to start the Nationals' fourth. One-out later, Tyler Moore took an 82 mph 1-2 slider to left and into the visitor's bullpen for a two-run home run and a 5-3 Nats' lead. Moore's 2nd. Four pitches later it was 6-3 after Roger Bernadina sent a 97 mph 1-2 heater out to right and over the out-of-town scoreboard for a solo home run and a three-run lead. Shark's 1st. [CHOMP!] Nathan Karns bunted Kurt Suzuki over after the one-out single that followed the back-to-back jacks, and the Nats' catcher scored from second when Denard Span doubled to right on a 1-1 fastball Gausman, 7-3 Nationals after four in Nationals Park.
Steve Pearce K'd swinging to start the fifth in a pinch hit appearances that ended Kevin Gausman's night. A one-out walk to Nate McLouth pushed Nathan Karns up to 77 pitches overall. McLouth stole second on the first pitch to Manny Machado and Karns missed high with a 3-0 fastball, issuing his second-straight walk on his 85th pitch, which prompted Davey Johnson to come out and bring in Zach Duke. Two pitches later, Karns was off the hook for those runners when Nick Markakis grounded into an inning-ending 6-3 DP. 7-3 Nationals in the fifth.
• Nathan Karns' MLB Debut: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HR, 85 P, 50 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
Left-hander T.J. McFarland took over for the Orioles and gave up a leadoff single to left by Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the fifth. Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore grounded into forces at second in each of the next three at bats and it was 7-3 Nats after five in D.C.
Zach Duke threw a six-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth vs the Orioles. After Roger Bernadina and Kurt Suzuki went down for the first two outs of the Nationals' half of the inning, Jeff Kobernus made the second MLB debut of the night with two down in the Nats' sixth, grounding out to Manny Machado on 2-1 fastball from T.J. McFarland in his first major league at bat. Still 7-3 Nats.
Drew Storen took over in the the top of the seventh. Ryan Zimmerman couldn't get to a grounder off J.J. Hardy's bat as the O's shortstop singled to start the seventh, but Zim was all over a Yamaico Navarro grounder to third as he started a 5-4-3 DP for the second and third outs of the Orioles' seventh. Troy Patton took over for T.J. McFarland in the bottom of the inning and set the seventh, eighth and ninth straight Nationals' batters in-a-row down after Ryan Zimmerman's leadoff single in the top of the fifth.
Tyler Clippard came out for the eighth and gave up back-to-back singles by Nate McLouth and Manny Machado before getting serious and retiring the next three Orioles in order in a scoreless 22-pitch eighth. Troy Patton came back out for the bottom of the inning and surrendered Adam LaRoche's 10th home of 2013 and the Nats' first baseman's second of the night on a 2-1 fastball that went soaring out to right. 8-3 D.C. Ian Desmond hit his 15th double in the next at bat, then scored on an RBI single by the Shark, so it was 9-3 Nationals after eight.
Fernando Abad got a lineout to third from Matt Wieters with an 81 mph curve. J.J. Hardy K'd looking at a 2-2 fastball. Pinch hitter Danny Valencia worked the count full but grounded out to third. Ryan Zimmerman's throw was on point. Word. Ballgame.
Nationals win, 9-3 final.
Nationals now 27-25