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Washington Nationals drop series opener to Baltimore Orioles, 6-4: Gio Gonzalez gives up three HRs in first...

One line drive after another sailed out to left as the Orioles hit three home runs off Gio Gonzalez in the first and cruised to a 6-4 win in OPACY.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Washington and Baltimore picked up their regional “rivalry” tonight in Oriole Park at Camden Yards with the first of this week’s four-game, two-city Interleague series.

The O’s started things off with a bang, or... three of them, actually.

Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini all hit home runs to left field off Nats’ left-hander Gio Gonzalez in the bottom of the first, as the Orioles jumped out to an early 4-0 lead.

The Orioles were up 6-0 before Anthony Rendon and Michael A. Taylor doubled in the fifth with Taylor’s RBI two-bagger bringing Rendon in, 6-1.

Bryce Harper drove Jayson Werth in with an RBI single in the sixth, 6-2, and Harper hit a two-out solo home run off Darren O’Day in the eighth, 6-3.

Matt Wieters hit a two-run double in the ninth, 6-4, but that’s as close as the Nationals would get as they ran themselves into a game-ending DP and dropped the series opener.

Nationals now 21-11

Here’s how it happened:

Four pitches into the bottom of the first the Orioles were up 1-0 after Joey Rickard lined a 2-1 fastball to left field for a leadoff home run off Gonzalez, 1-0.

It was Rickard’s first of 2017 and the O’s first leadoff home run of the season.

Two batters later, Mark Trumbo hit a 1-2 fastball out to left field for the second solo shot of the inning and his third of the season, 2-0 O’s.

Gonzalez walked Chris Davis with two out and gave up his third home run of the inning on a first-pitch fastball to Trey Mancini that ended up flying over the STATE FARM sign on the left field fence for a two-run blast that made it 4-0 Orioles.

Orioles’ starter Kevin Gausman retired the first 10 batters he faced before Jayson Werth hit a soft liner to left-center to break up the nascent no-hit bid.

Jonathan Schoop doubled and scored, after a walk to J.J. Hardy, on an RBI single to left-center by Orioles’ catcher Caleb Joseph, 5-0.

Joey Rickard sent a grounder to third that could have started a 5-4-3 DP, but the throw to second from Anthony Rendon was low and Daniel Murphy couldn’t handle it, 6-0 Orioles on the RBI “single”.

Anthony Rendon doubled to start the fifth, connecting for the Nationals’ second hit off Gausman, and two outs later, he scored on an RBI double by Michael A. Taylor, who hit a low liner by third base, 6-1 Orioles.

Jayson Werth doubled to start the sixth, moved up on a wild pitch to Bryce Harper and scored when Harper hit a grounder over the mound for an RBI single, 6-2.

• Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 Ks, 3 HRs, 108 P, 60 S, 8/6 GO/FO.

Kevin Gausman’s Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 116 P, 77 S, 7/3 GO/FO.

Blake Treinen threw a quick, 16-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh.

Bryce Harper hit a 2-2 fastball from Darren O’Day out to left field for an opposite field blast in the eighth, making it a three-run game with his 10th of 2017, 6-3 O’s.

Brad Brach closed out the ninth, after giving up a leadoff walk, a one-out single, and an RBI double that made it 6-4, but the Nats ran themselves out of the rally to end it.

NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:

  • The Orioles lead the so-called “Beltway Series” 36-24 heading into this week’s four-game, two-city series with the Nationals, which began in 2006.
  • Washington’s 21-10 record heading into tonight’s game is the best record in the National League, and second-best in the majors, behind only the New York Yankees (20-9).
  • The Nationals’ offense leads the majors in runs scored (194), run differential (+53), hits (314), doubles (68), AVG (.285), OBP (.362), and SLG (.491).
  • Orioles’ hitters rank third in the AL and sixth in the majors in batting average with runners in scoring position (.294, 59 for 201).
  • Jayson Werth went 8 for 15 (.571 AVG) with a double, two home runs and five runs scored in the Nationals’ three-game series in Citizens Bank Park this past weekend.
  • Ryan Zimmerman enters the four-game series with the Orioles leading the majors in AVG (.435), SLG (.907), RBIs (34), hits (47), multi-hit games (16) and extra base hits (25).
  • Washington’s defense starts the series ranked eighth in the majors (and fifth in the NL) with a .986 fld% on the season.
  • Baltimore’s 11-3 record in OPACY early in 2017 (before tonight) was the second-best home record in the majors, behind only the NYY’s 12-3 mark.

Nationals now 21-11