Davey Johnson Wants To Beat The Orioles Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Baltimore Orioles' third baseman Manny Machado was 2 for 2 tonight after he sliced a leadoff single over second in the top of the fourth inning and one out later he came around the easy way when O's left fielder Nelson Cruz* sent a two-run home run out to right, taking a 95 mph 1-0 fastball over the out-of-town scoreboard for his 28th home run of the season.
Denard Span improved to 5 for 11 career vs Orioles' starter Chris Tillman with a leadoff single in the sixth and Anthony Rendon was first-pitch swinging in the next at bat and he got hold of a fastball inside that he powered out to right field for a game-tying, two-run home run. 2-2 game after Rendon's 13th. #VoteRendon
Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 8, 2014
It was still tied at 2-2 after ten, but the Baltimore Orioles took the lead in the top of the eleventh. Nelson Cruz reached on a broke-bat single to center and Chris Davis followed with a two-run home run to right that made it a 4-2 game. J.J. Hardy hit one out to left in the next at bat to make it 5-2 O's. Nick Markakis doubled to center to drive in another run, 6-2. Manny Machado's fifth inning home run was a two-run blast that made it 8-2 O's.
That's how it ended.
4. Strasburg in D.C.: In ten starts for the Washington Nationals in the nation's capital before tonight's, '09 Nats' no.1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg was (6-1) with a 2.35 ERA, 2.02 FIP, 12 walks (1.66 BB/9) and 84 Ks (11.63 K/9) in 65 IP over which he's held opposing hitters to a combined .247/.289/.337 line.
Away from Nationals Park, the 25-year-old right-hander was (1-6) with a 5.13 ERA, 12 walks (2.28 BB/9) and 47 Ks (8.94 K/9) in 47 ⅓ IP and a .282/.332/.473 line against.
Strasburg struggled on the mound in Miller Park in his next-to-last outing, going just 4 ⅔ IP against the Milwaukee Brewers and giving up eight hits, three walks and seven earned runs in a 9-2 loss.
Back home in D.C. the last time out, he held the Colorado Rockies to five hits, a walk and one earned run in 7 ⅔ IP in a 7-1 win.
Asked what was different for the righty between the two starts, Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters that getting ahead in the count was important.
"I think strike one is probably the biggest difference," Williams said.
"Got ahead of a lot of hitters tonight. His curveball was effective, his changeup was effective, went deep in the game. He threw a lot of pitches, but he was in command. I think that's the biggest difference. He didn't fall behind guys. And for him, that's important. It's important for everybody, but especially for him."
The Nationals provided Strasburg with seven runs of support while he was on the mound and improved to 38-4 overall with him on the hill when he's given 3+ runs of support in his career.
Tonight in the Nats' home, Strasburg faced the Baltimore Orioles for the second time in his five-year major league career.
His last start against the Nationals' regional rivals took place in 2012 when he held the O's to four hits, a walk and three runs, one earned in five innings of work in a 9-3 Nats' win.
His second career outing against the Orioles began with sharp line drive to left...
1st: Bryce Harper caught a low liner to left off Nick Markakis' bat for the first out of tonight's game. Manny Machado took a 1-0 changeup by third for a one-out double that ended up bouncing around in the corner in left field. O's center fielder Adam Jones fell behind 1-2 and K'd swinging at an 89 mph change that dove inside. Nelson Cruz grounded out to short and Strasburg was through a relatively quick, 14-pitch first.
2nd: Chris Davis sent a high fly ball to left that Bryce Harper tracked down. J.J. Hardy went down swinging at an 0-2 curve. Nick Hundley sent a sharp grounder toward third, but Ryan Zimmerman snagged it and threw to first to end the O's second. 10-pitch frame, 24 total after two.
3rd: Jonathan Schoop chased a 2-2 curve out of the zone for out no.1 and K no.3. Chris Tillman sent a 96 mph 2-2 fastball out to second for out no.2. Nick Markakis battled for seven pitches before sending a one-hop liner to short to end a 17-pitch third. 41 pitches total.
4th: Manny Machado sliced a 3-1 fastball over second for a leadoff single in the O's fourth. Adam Jones sent a high fly out to right where Jayson Werth caught the first out of the inning. Nelson Cruz got hold of a 1-0 fastball and sent a two-run home run out to right-center for an opposite field blast that made it 2-0 Orioles. Chris Davis K'd swinging at a 96 mph full-count fastball. J.J. Hardy K'd swinging at a 2-2 change. 21-pitch frame. 62 total after four.
5th: Nick Hundley was defenseless against an 87 mph 1-2 change inside. K no.6. Jonathan Schoop fell behind 0-2 and got the change as well. 7 Ks. Chris Tillman's groundout to first ended a 13-pitch 5th that left Strasburg at 75 total on the night.
6th: Nick Markakis popped out to center for the first out of the sixth. Manny Machado was 3 for 3 tonight after sending a single through short on a 2-2 curve. Adam Jones stepped in with a runner on and K'd swinging at a diving change. K no.8. Nelson Cruz grounded into a force at second to end the O's sixth. 19-pitch frame, 94 overall after six.
7th: Chris Davis grounded weakly to first. J.J. Hardy bounced one off Strasburg's glove, but Anthony Rendon picked it up and made a quick, strong throw to first. Nick Hundley fouled a 96 mph 2-2 fastball into Wilson Ramos' mitt to end a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh. 104 pitches, 9 Ks for Strasburg.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 Ks, 104 P, 68 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
3. Tea for the Tillman: The Baltimore Orioles acquired Seattle Mariners' '06 2nd Round pick Chris Tillman (and some guy named Adam Jones) in the 2008 trade that sent left-hander Erick Bedard from the O's to the M's.
In the 26-year-old's first full season as a major league starter in 2013, the 6'5'' right-hander went (16-7) with a 3.71 ERA, a 4.42 FIP, 68 walks (2.97 BB/9) and 197 Ks (7.81 K/9) in 206 ⅓ IP for the Orioles in which he held opposing hitters to a .241/.303/.427 line.
So far this year, Tillman was (7-4) with a 4.21 ERA, a 4.60 FIP, 44 walks (3.78 BB/9) and 64 Ks (5.50 K/9) in 104 ⅔ IP before tonight.
While he'd put up a 2.74 ERA, a 3.86 FIP and a .236/.303/.344 line against in 49 ⅓ IP at OPACY this season, he was just (1-4) at home and Tillman was (6-0) with a 5.53 ERA, 5.26 FIP and a .268/.353/.461 line against in 55 ⅓ IP away from Baltimore so far in 2014.
Before taking the mound in Nats Park in the series opener, Tillman faced the Nationals just twice in his career, putting up a 6.52 ERA in 9 ⅔ IP over which Nats' hitters have posted a combined .341/.400/.732 line.
Denard Span, who entered the game 4 for 10 with two doubles off Tillman in their respective careers, walked to start the home-half of the first inning, but three outs later he was stranded. A quick, 7-pitch, 1-2-3 second by the Orioles' starter left him at 21 pitches total after two.
Stephen Strasburg connected for the first hit off Tillman, lining a single to right with one down in the third, but two outs later he was stranded at the end of a 16-pitch frame by the O's starter, who was up to 37 after three scoreless.
Given a 2-0 lead to work with, Tillman threw a quick, 13-pitch, 1-2-3 4th. 50 pitches total.
WIlson Ramos singled with two down in the Nationals' fifth, but Stephen Strasburg K'd on a check-swing strike three to end Tillman's fifth scoreless. 15-pitch frame, 65 total after five scoreless.
Denard Span singled to start the Nats' sixth and Anthony Rendon was first-pitch swinging in the next at bat and he connected! Rendon's 13th home run of the season soared out to right-center and over the out-of-town scorebard for a game-tying two-run blast. 2-2 in D.C.
Wilson Ramos singled to right with two down, but a fly to right ended an 18-pitch frame by Tillman, who was up to 103 pitches after seven.
• Chris Tillman's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 103 P, 67 S.
2. Battle of the Beltways-ish thing: Heading into this week's home-and-home set, the Baltimore Orioles hold a 26-20 advantage over the Washington Nationals in the regional rivalry which began when the Montreal Expos relocated to the nation's capital in 2005, bringing baseball back to Washington, D.C. for the first since the second Senators left the District for Arlington, Texas following the 1971 season.
Since 2008, when Nationals Park opened, the Nationals held a 9-8 advantage over the Orioles in games in the nation's capital.
As the Nats pointed out in their pregame notes before today's game, however, the "rivalry" has featured a number of close contests, and though Washington has only taken the season series once, in 2007, 29 of 46 games have been decided by two runs or less and there have been 19 one-run games between the Nationals and Orioles, though Washington was 5-14 in those games.
Baltimore started the two-game set in Washington with a 48-40 record and a 2.0-game lead in the AL East.
The Nationals began the two-game set in Nats Park with a 48-39 record, a 0.5-game back in the NL East.
Jayson Werth's Beard (@JWerthsBeard) July 7, 2014
1. The Wrap-Up: Tyler Clippard took over for the Nationals in the eighth and gave up a leadoff single by Jonathan Schoop. Delmon Young stepped in for Tillman with a runner on and no outs, but went down swinging at a 1-2 cutter. Nick Markakis singled with one down to move Schoop to second with Manny Machado due up. Machado grounded into a force at third, but Ryan Zimmerman sailed the throw on the DP attempt. Adam Jones sent a fly to left to end the inning though.
Darren O'Day took the mound for the O's in the eighth and retired the Nationals in order.
Rafael Soriano gave up a leadoff single to left by Nelson Cruz, but retired the next three Orioles in order in a nine-pitch frame.
Ryan Zimmerman doubled with one down in the ninth on an 0-1 sinker outside from O'Day. O's skipper Buck Showalter walked Bryce Harper in front of Ian Desmond, who K'd swinging for out no.2. WIlson Ramos came up with two on and two out and and went down swinging.
Drew Storen came on for the tenth and gave up back-to-back two-out single by Nick Markakis and Manny Machado, who was 4 for 4 on the night after the hit. Adam Jones stepped in with the go-ahead run at second and popped out behind first. 17-pitch frame. Still a 2-2 game.
T.J. McFarland took over on the mound for the Orioles in the bottom of the tenth. Anthony Rendon reached on a two-out single to get Jayson Werth to the plate. But Werth's flyout to center ended the inning.
Craig Stammen gave up a broken-bat single to short by Nelson Cruz in the first at bat of the eleventh and a two-run home run to right by Chris Davis in the next at bat. 4-2 Orioles. Make that 5-2 after J.J. Hardy homered in the next at bat. Nick Markakis drove in a run with an RBI single and Manny Machado's fifth hit of the night was a two-run blast to left that made it an 8-2 game.
Nationals now 48-40