In need of a win to halt a three-game losing streak, the Washington Nationals turned to Tanner Roark in the third game of the four-game home-and-home series with the Baltimore Orioles.
Roark took the mound with a five-start unbeaten streak over which he was (4-0) with a 2.14 ERA and a .210/.293/.361 line against in 33 ⅔ IP and... struggled, mightily, giving up five runs in the first two innings, over which he threw a total of 62 pitches.
He threw a total of 111 pitches in five innings pitched, with Orioles’ starter Wade Miley giving up two runs through five, 5-2.
Washington added a run in the seventh on an RBI single to right by Daniel Murphy, but fell short again, dropping their third straight to Baltimore and fourth straight overall, 10-8 final after a Daniel Murphy slam in the ninth and an RBI double by Anthony Rendon made it closer than it was.
Here’s how it happened:
It didn’t start well for Roark, who needed help from Trea Turner on a sprinting, diving play in center to get the first out of the game.
Hyun Sook Kim singled to left with one down and scored the easy way when Manny Machado hit a 2-0 fastball over the left field bullpen in the next at bat. 2-0 Orioles.
Chris Davis followed with a double to center and a walk and back-to-back hit-by-pitches loaded the bases and forced in a run, respectively, pushing Roark up to 30 pitches with the Orioles up 3-0 in the first, and a sac fly by J.J. Hardy made it 4-0 O’s after a 39-pitch first.
Anthony Rendon battled O’s starter Wade Miley for eight pitches and got the Nats on the board with a two-out, RBI double in the home half of the first, but Daniel Murphy was thrown out at home trying to score on the play. 4-1 Orioles after one.
Adam Jones reached on a two-error play by Rendon in the first at bat of the second, and scored one out later on an RBI single to center by Machado, 5-1.
After a leadoff walk to Jonathan Schoop in the fifth, Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters hit Roark’s 101st pitch to the GEICO wall in center field where Trea Turner made a leaping attempt but no catch. Roark retired the next three batters in order, however, to strand both of the runners and keep it 5-1. Turning point?
Danny Espinosa made it a three-run game with a solo home run to left on a 2-1 slider from Miley in the first at bat of the Nats’ fifth. 5-2. Espinosa’s 20th.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 111 P, 59 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
Koda Glover tossed a scoreless top of the sixth, and Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the inning, with Harper alertly taking second when the Orioles tried to cut Murphy down at third.
Mychal Givens came on to face Anthony Rendon with two on and no one out and struck him out before retiring Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman as well to end the threat. Still 5-2 Orioles.
Ben Revere doubled off Givens with one down in the seventh and took third on a single by Trea Turner (4 for 4 tonight, 8 for 8 in last two games). Donnie Hart came on for the Orioles with runners on the corners and two out vs Daniel Murphy and gave up an RBI single to right, 5-3 Orioles.
Bryce Harper stepped in with runners on the corners as well and... went down swinging after an eight-pitch battle.
Still 5-3 O’s... at least it was until Hyun Soo Kim doubled off Blake Treinen to start the Orioles’ eighth and scored on an RBI single by Manny Machado, 6-3. And 7-3 on an RBI single by Jonathan Schoop and 10-3 on a Matt Wieters’ homer and... #starwipe
Well, #starwipe after Daniel Murphy hit a grand slam in the ninth to make the Orioles go to closer Zach Britton.
Bryce Harper singled in the next at bat and scored on a double by Anthony Rendon, 10-8, and Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice that failed to get Rendon at second.
So Ryan Zimmerman stepped in with the potential to walk it off and grounded into a game-ending double play. 10-8 O’s.
Nationals now 73-53
- Washington started the night (73-52) overall this season with the second-best record in the majors, behind only the Chicago Cubs (80-45).
- Baltimore took both of the first two games of the “Battle of the Beltways” or whatever they call it, after taking four of six with Washington last season.
- The Orioles now lead the all-time series with the Nationals (41-32) with a 25-14 record in OPACY, but only a 14-16 record in D.C., where they play the next two games.
- The Nationals’ +137 run differential was also the second-best in the majors, behind only the Cubs’ major league-leading +214 run differential.
- The Orioles start the second-half of their home-and-home series with the Nationals with a major-league leading 195 HRs as a team, with Mark Trumbo (38) leading the majors in homers.
- Nats’ second baseman Daniel Murphy started the night leading all NL hitts in SLG (.604), OPS (.993) and multi-hit games (48).
- In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Trea Turner is 22 for 59 (.373) with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, two walks, six stolen bases and 16 runs scored... in 13 games since August 10th
- In a bonus Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Bryce Harper is 14 for 37 (.378 AVG) with three doubles, two home runs, nine walks and eight runs scored since returning to the lineup on August 14th.
- Orioles’ closer Zach Britton has completed a Major League record 43 consecutive relief appearances without allowing an earned run.
- O’s relievers rank sixth in the majors with a combined 3.41 ERA on the season.
Nationals now 73-53