Beat the Orioles for Davey Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Did someone say #VoteRendon? Washington Nationals' 3B/2B Anthony Rendon doubled in his first at bat tonight in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, taking a 3-1 fastball from Orioles' right-hander Bud Norris to left where a fan interfered with the ball. Ground-rule double. Rendon scored from second when Jayson Werth doubled to right-center in the next at bat, and Werth scored when Adam LaRoche followed with the third straight one-out hit off Norris for a 2-0 lead early in the series opener in Baltimore.
Doug Fister allowed six walks (0.76 BB/9) total through 70 ⅔ IP for the Nationals in 2014 before tonight, but with home plate ump Dan Iassogna squeezing him a bit tonight and refusing to call cut-back fastballs on the outside edge strikes, Fister walked two in the first inning tonight, putting Steve Pearce and Nelson Cruz on in front of Orioles' slugger Chris Davis, who worked the count full and lined to right to drive Pearce in and make it 2-1 Nats after one.
Wilson Ramos sent a solo home run out to left in the top of the second, however, and the Nationals' 26-year-old catcher's 3rd HR of the year gave the Nats their two-run lead back, 3-1 after one and a half.
Ian Desmond hit a 1-2 slider out to right-center with two down in the top of the fourth, hitting home run no.16 of the season off Norris to give the Nationals a 4-1 lead after three and a half.
Manny Machado was 2 for 2 tonight and 7 for 8 in two games vs the Nats this week after he took a 1-0 change out to left for his 9th home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth. 4-2 game.
The Nationals knocked Norris out after 71 pitches in 4+ IP, and a bases-loaded sac fly by Adam LaRoche off Orioles' RHP Brad Brach gave the Nationals a 5-2 lead.
Jayson Werth's ninth home run of the year was a solo blast in the seventh that made it a 6-2 lead in the Nationals' favor.
That's how it ended, 6-2 Nationals in Oriole Park.
4. Fister vs the O's: Washington right-hander Doug Fister didn't have his best stuff last time out against Colorado in the nation's capital.
In spite of the fact that he struggled on the mound, the Nationals' starter managed to hold Rockies' hitters to seven hits and three runs in seven innings, earning his seventh win of the season in the process.
It wasn't easy though.
"Constant battle all night," Fister told reporters after the outing was over.
"The biggest thing was making sure that the ball got down in the zone. Left a few balls over the plate and they made me pay for them. Really had to struggle to keep that going after that, so the keys were the guys played defense. They came out and played well and sacrificed a lot, whether it diving or just sacrificing themselves to make the play, that was big."
Fister improved as he went along and ended up retiring 11 of the last 13 Rockies' batters he faced, improving to (7-2) on the year with a 2.93 ERA, a 3.96 FIP, six walks (0.76 BB/9) and 42 Ks (5.35 K/9) in 70 ⅔ IP.
That outing left the first-year National (5-0) in five starts at home in D.C. this season, with a 2.31 ERA, 2.91 FIP, three walks (0.77 BB/9) and 24 Ks (6.17 K/9) in 35 IP in Nationals Park which he held opposing hitters to a .200/.235/.317 line. His scheduled start was postponed by rain last night, however, so it was delayed by a day.
The former Detroit Tigers' starter acquired by the Nats this winter was therefore forced to drive north to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where he would take on the Orioles in their home instead.
Before tonight, Fister faced the O's six times in his career while he was in the American League.
In those six outings, Fister was (3-2) with a 5.30 ERA, six walks (1.51 BB/9) and 35 Ks (8.83 K/9) in in 35 ⅔ IP over which Orioles' hitters put up a combined .293/.327/.422 line.
In OPACY in his career, the 6'8'' righty was (1-1) with a 5.09 ERA, one walk and 17 Ks in three starts and 17 ⅔ IP before tonight, with O's hitters posting a .329/.342/.421 line against him.
On the road this season, the Nats' right-hander was (2-2) in 2014, with a 3.53 ERA, 4.99 FIP, three walks (0.76 BB/9) and 18 Ks (4.54 K/9) in 35 ⅔ IP over which opposing hitters have put up a .288/.311/.483 line.
His seventh career start against Baltimore began with a fly ball to center field in OPACY...
1st: Nick Markakis sent a fly ball out to Denard Span in center for the first out of the Orioles' first. Fister issued a rare walk to Steve Pearce in the next at bat. Adam Jones stepped up with one on and one out and went down swinging at an 89 mph cutter outside. Nelson Cruz went to a full count and took the second walk of the inning from Fister. Chris Davis stepped in with two on and two out, went to a full count and lined a single to right to drive Pearce in and cut the Nats' lead in half, 2-1. A flyout to left by J.J. Hardy ended a 31-pitch first by the Nats' right-hander.
2nd: Manny Machado singled to start the O's second, but he was doubled up on a grounder to short off Orioles' catcher Caleb Joseph's bat. Jonathan Schoop's groundout to short ended a quick, eight-pitch second for Fister, which left him at 39 total after two.
3rd: Fister hit Nick Markakis on the foot with a 3-2 bender in the first at bat of the O's third. Steve Pearce fell behind 0-2 quickly and K'd swinging at an 88 mph two-seamer up high. Adam Jones singled to left on the first pitch he saw to put two on in front of Nelson Cruz, who grounded to second for out no.2. Chris Davis game up in a second straight RBI opp, but popped out this time, ending a 17-pitch frame that left Fister at 56 total after three.
4th: Denard Span covered a long distance to catch a fly to center off J.J. Hardy's bat for the first out of the O's fourth, but Manny Machado sent a towering home run out to left on a 1-0 changeup from Fister in the next AB, to make it a two-run game again at 4-2. 7 for 8 in two games for Machado after the homer. Caleb Joseph singled to short in the next at bat, but Fister popped Jonathan Schoop up for out no.2 and Nick Markakis popped up to end the inning. 16-pitch frame for the Nats' right-hander, 72 total after four.
5th: Anthony Rendon took a grounder in the gut, picked it up and made a strong throw to first to get Steve Pearce. Adam Jones grounded to short for out no.2. Nelson Cruz popped to center to end a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth that left Fister at 85P total.
6th: Chris Davis singled to right to start the sixth, taking a 1-0 change to center. A wild pitch allowed Davis to take second. J.J. Hardy K'd swinging wildly at a 1-2 slider. Manny Machado singled again, driving his third hit of the night through short. Caleb Joseph came up with runners on the corners and one down and grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3. Rendon to Espinosa to LaRoche. 13-pitch frame. 98 pitches total.
7th: Jonathan Schoop grounded out to second. Anthony Rendon charged and barehanded a weak chopper off Nick Markakis' bat and bounced a throw to first for out no.2. Steve Pearce's groundout to third ended a 15-pitch seventh by Fister, who was up to 113 pitches.
• Doug Fister's Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 113 P, 73 S, 9/4 GO/FO.
3. "Not. Even. close. Buuud!": O's right-hander Bud Norris struggled in three straight outings at the end of May and start of June, but the last three times he took the mound, the 29-year-old veteran of six major league seasons was lights out, posting a 0.92 ERA in 19 ⅔ IP over which he's held opposing hitters to a combined .188/.263/.275 line.
A groin injury landed him on the DL, however, and he was out of action after June 21st before returning tonight.
On the year, in his second season with the Orioles after he was acquired from the Houston Astros in return for left-hander Josh Hader, outfielder L.J. Hoes and a 2014 competitive balance pick and resigned to a 1-year/$5.3M deal, Norris was (7-5) before taking the mound in Oriole Park, with a 3.62 ERA, 4.50 FIP, 28 walks (2.90 BB/9) and 60 Ks (6.21 K/9) in 14 starts and 87 IP.
Tonight's outing was the O's righty's fourth against the Nationals. In the previous three outings, he was (2-0) with a 3.66 ERA, eight walks and 16 Ks in 19 ⅔ IP in which Nats' hitters put up a .269/.337/.385 line.
2014 All-Star Game Final Vote candidate Anthony Rendon doubled to left with one down in the top of the first inning tonight vs Norris, taking a 94 mph 3-1 fastball to left for a ground-rule two-base hit that a fan interfered with and he scored from second in the next at bat when Jayson Werth hit double no.20 of 2014 to right-center field. 1-0 Nationals. Adam LaRoche singled to right for the Nats' third straight hit and Werth scored from second ahead of a slightly off-target and late throw in by Nick Markakis. 2-0 Nationals.
After the Orioles cut in the Nats' lead with an RBI single by Chris Davis making it 2-1 Nationals after one, hard-hitting catcher Wilson Ramos took a 1-2 fastball from Norris for a ride and a solo home run to left that made it a 3-1 game. 13-pitch frame for Norris, 39 total after two.
The Nationals went down in order in a nine-pitch third by Norris, who was up to 48 pitches.
Norris retired the first two Nats he faced on six pitches in the fourth, but Nationals' shortstop Ian Desmond hit a 1-2 slider out to right-center for a two-out solo home run that made it 4-1. HR no.16 for Desmond. 12-pitch fourth for Norris, 60 total after four.
Danny Espinosa walked to start the fifth. Denard Span beat out a grounder to second that Jonathan Schoop bobbled. That was it for Norris...
• Bud Norris' Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 71 P, 44 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
2. Nationals vs Orioles: With Monday night's win, the Baltimore Orioles improved to 27-20 overall against the Nationals since baseball returned to the nation's capital in 2005 with a 1-4-3 series record against Washington's third major league team. With no team in the District for over 34 years after the second Senators departed, the Orioles were the closest MLB franchise, but after nine years of the Nationals, it's time for fans to take sides, at least according to Stacey Folkemer from the SB Nation's O's site, Camden Chat. Stacey wrote about choosing sides once and for all Monday afternoon, check out the post through the link below (but please don't take this as an invitation to troll O's fans, if you're going to comment over there, represent us well):
We talked about the rivalry Monday night on Nats Nightly as well, though Doghouse was less than pleased with the shared experience in the nation's capital:
1. The Wrap-Up: Bud Norris was out after 71 pitches in his return from the DL. Brad Bach took over with runners on first and second and no one out in the fifth. Anthony Rendon's fly to right allowed Danny Espinosa to take third, and with Jayson Werth up, Denard Span stole second. Werth walked to load'em up for Adam LaRoche, whose sac fly brought Espinosa in for a 5-2 lead. The Nationals loaded'em up again when Ryan Zimmerman walked with two down, but Bryce Harper lined out to right to end the inning.
Brach came out for another inning of work in the sixth and retired the Nationals in order.
With two down in the seventh, however, Jayson Werth hit a first-pitch splitter out to left for a solo home run that gave the Nationals a 6-2 lead.
Brian Matusz retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth.
Drew Storen took the mound in the bottom of the inning and retired the Orioles in order in a 14-pitch, 11-strike, 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.
Matusz retired the Nationals in order in the top of the ninth.
Ross Detwiler came on to end it. J.J. Hardy grounded out to third. Manny Machado grounded out to short. Delmon Young stepped in with two out and sent a long fly to center that Denard Span caught. Ballgame.
Nationals now 49-40