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Washington Nationals blow late lead; Baltimore Orioles walk off with 5-4 win

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Max Scherzer flirted with a no-hitter and left the game up, 4-2, after eight, but the Nationals’ bullpen faltered again, and the Orioles took their second straight in OPACY.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer’s night started with a leadoff walk to Baltimore Orioles’ right fielder Seth Smith, but through four innings that was the only baserunner against the right-hander, who walked another batter with two-out in the fifth, ending a streak of 14-straight set down.

Scherzer stranded the second Oriole to reach base and completed his fifth scoreless and hitless with his seventh K of the game, however, and through five, he had faced just two batters over the minimum.

Daniel Murphy put the Nationals up early with a solo shot to right off Ubaldo Jimenez, 1-0 after one, but that was the Nats’ only run through six, as the Orioles’ right-hander tried his best to keep it close with Scherzer dealing.

Seth Smith ended Scherzer’s bid for his third career no-hitter with a solo home run to right with one out in the sixth, crushing a 1-1 slider for a line drive home run that got over the 373 ft sign on the outfield fence, 1-1.

It stayed tied until the top of the eighth, when Adam Lind hit a three-run pinch hit home run out to center off Jimenez to put the Nationals up, 4-1.

Adam Jones took Scherzer deep in the eighth to get within two, 4-2.

Enny Romero came on for the save opportunity, however, and gave up two runs on an RBI double by Jonathan Schoop and RBI single by J.J. Hardy, 4-4.

It went to extras, and the Orioles won it on a Mark Trumbo walk-off single, 5-4 final.

Nationals now 21-12

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

• Daniel Murphy started the scoring in the second, crushing a 3-1 fastball from Ubaldo Jimenez and sending a line drive home run out to right field to make it 1-0, after one and a half. Murphy’s sixth of 2017.

Trea Turner snapped an 0 for 14 stretch at the plate with a two-out single to left field in the third, but he slid by the second base bag on a stolen base attempt and was tagged out for his first caught stealing in seven attempts this season.

Max Scherzer was up to eight Ks on the day after he struck J.J. Hardy out to end the bottom of the fifth, stranding the second baserunner to reach against him. Scherzer’s only blemishes through six were two walks, one to the first batter of the game, and a second one 14 batters later.

Seth Smith tied the game up with one swing in the sixth, sending a solo shot sailing out to right on a line on a 1-1 change from Scherzer, 1-1.

Chris Davis sent a well-struck grounder through the right side for a leadoff single in the Orioles’ seventh, connecting for the second hit of the night off Scherzer, and he took third on a two-out single by Jonathan Schoop, but both runners were stranded when J.J. Hardy grounded out to second to end the frame. Still a 1-1 game.

Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters hit back-to-back singles off Jimenez to start the Nationals’ half of the eighth, and one out later, Adam Lind put the Nationals up with, lining a three-run home run to center on a 1-1 splitter from the O’s starter, 4-1.

• Ubaldo Jimenez’s Line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 112 P, 68 S, 12/1 GO/FO.

Scherzer came back out for the eighth at 98 pitches and retired the first two batters he faced by Adam Jones got hold of a first-pitch slider and hit it out to left field on a line, 4-2 Nationals. He finished off the eight after a visit from Dusty Baker, talking the manager into letting him stay on to complete the inning.

• Max Scherzer’s Line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 Ks, 2 HRs, 113 P, 78 S, 3/5 GO/FO.

Enny Romero took the ball in the ninth and issued a leadoff walk to Chris Davis.

Then Bryce Harper and Brian Goodwin collided going for a pop to right-center off Mark Trumbo’s bat, and let it fall to the ground, but Davis got forced out at second base on a strong throw in by Goodwin.

After a balk call (which Dusty Baker did not like) moved Trumbo into scoring position, Jonathan Schoop doubled in a run with two down, 4-3, and J.J. Hardy drove in the tying run with a single to center on a 100 mph 2-0 fastball, 4-4. Blown save for Romero.

Romero came back out for the bottom of the tenth and gave up a leadoff single by Seth Smith.

Matt Albers took over on the mound, and popped up Adam Jones on a bunt attempt.

Manny Machado sent a grounder to third, but the Nationals tried to turn a quick double play, and Wilmer Difo dropped the throw from Anthony Rendon.

After a review, both runners were ruled safe. Oliver Perez came on to face Chris Davis and got him looking, and Mark Trumbo popped out to end the tenth. Still 4-4.

J.J. Hardy doubled with two down in the Orioles’ eleventh, but was thrown out at home by Bryce Harper trying to score on a line drive single to right by Caleb Joseph. #DontrunonHarper

• Adam Jones hit a one-out single to right field off Jacob Turner in the Orioles’ half of the twelfth inning, and took third on a single by Manny Machado before scoring on a walk-off single by Mark Trumbo, 5-4 final.

NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:

  • Even after back-to-back losses in the last two games, Washington’s 21-11 record is the National League’s best.
  • Baltimore’s win last night left then 37-24 against Washington in the all-time series between the two teams.
  • Washington’s offense started the night leading the majors in runs scored (198), AVG (.284), OBP (.359), SLG (.489), extra base hits (127), hits (322), doubles (72), and RBIs (194).
  • Orioles’ hitters rank third in the AL and sixth in the majors in average with runners in scoring position (.291), going 60 for 206 w/ RISP so far this season.
  • Bryce Harper started the night leading the majors in OBP (.511), runs scored (36), walks (tied, 27), and intentional walks (tied, 5).
  • Ryan Zimmerman leads the majors in AVG (.420), SLG (.875), RBIs (34) hits (47), multi-hit games (16), and extra base hits (25), and is tied for the major league lead in HRs (13).
  • Orioles’ second baseman Jonathan Schoop has reached base in 23 straight games heading into tonight’s matchup.
  • Max Scherzer started the night (5-2) with a 3.32 ERA in nine careeer starts against the Orioles and (2-1) with a 2.31 ERA against the O’s since joining the Nationals.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez started the night (6-2) with a 2.24 ERA in nine starts and 60 13 innings pitched against the Nationals.

Nationals now 21-12