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Washington Nationals get good Joe Ross, beat Baltimore Orioles, 6-1

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Joe Ross struck out a career-high 12 hitters, leading the Washington Nationals to a 6-1 victory to split their season series with the Baltimore Orioles.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Ross has had up-and-down season, but he had everything working Thursday night when he struck out 12 batters to lead the Washington Nationals to a 6-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles in D.C.

The Orioles entered the game winners of five of their last seven, but Washington’s offense would be too much for Baltimore starter Alec Asher to handle.

Leading the way for the Nats was Trea Turner, who finished the game 3-4 with three singles, a walk, a pair of runs scored and three stolen bases.

The Nats as a team tied their season high with five bags swiped on the night.

Several regulars were sitting out the game to rest up after their long road trip, but utility man Stephen Drew took full advantage of the opportunity to start with his first home run of the year in the fifth.

Ross pitched into the eighth inning for the second time this season, allowing just four baserunners all evening.

Oliver Perez and Blake Treinen combined to get the final six outs without any damage and the Nats kicked off their home stand with a win over their local “rivals.”

Nationals now 38-21.

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

• The Nats broke out the bats early in the bottom of the first, scoring four runs before the Orioles could even settle into their defensive positions. With 25-year-old right-hander Alec Asher on the mound, Trea Turner led off the frame with a four-pitch walk. He stole both second and third, then scored when Bryce Harper hit a chopper over the mound he was able to beat out for a single.

Adam Lind then singled to put runners on first and second, setting up Stephen Drew two batters later. Drew singled to right, giving Harper the opportunity to come around and score. Finally, Michael Taylor put an exclamation mark on the inning with a double into the right field corner that scored both Lind and Drew.

• Joe Ross entered the game with a (2-2) record and 7.34 ERA after giving up seven runs (six earned) in just three innings of work against the Oakland A’s on Saturday.

Despite his previous rough outing, Ross didn’t have many problems with the Orioles’ lineup.

Mark Trumbo was able to hit a two-out single in the top of the first, but that would be the only baserunner Baltimore would get until the sixth inning. Ross struck out the side in both the second and fifth innings, relying primarily on his slider to get swings and misses.

• Washington tacked on another run in the second, highlighted by Turner once again lighting up the basepaths. He led off the inning with a single and moved to second after Harper walked. The duo would then pick up their second double steal of the year, making it to their respective bases without a throw. Turner then was able to score when Lind lifted a deep fly ball to center, giving the Nats a 5-0 lead.

• Turner’s big night translated to the defensive aspect of his game as well. In the top of the fourth, Trumbo hit a ground ball up the middle that looked like a bona fide single.

Turner made a diving stop, popped up and quickly threw the ball to first just in time to beat Trumbo.

https://twitter.com/Nationals/status/872977021638512642

• In the bottom half of the inning, the Nationals didn’t score but Harper picked up his most unusual double of the season. Orioles manager Buck Showalter had his defense shifted to the right side of the infield, leaving the third base line wide open. Harper made contact with a ball on a check swing and sent a chopper right down the baseline into left field. Left fielder Trey Mancini wasn’t able to get to the ball in time to stop Harper from reaching second with a stand-up double. Asher would get out of the inning unscathed, but it’d be his final frame of the night.

Alec Asher’s Line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks, 100 P, 59 S, 2/0 GO/FO

• Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy all had the night off after getting back at 2 a.m. from their West Coast road trip, but the bench made sure its presence was known. Lind finished the game with a hit, RBI and run scored and in the fifth. Drew launched his first home run of the season off Ubaldo Jimenez into the upper deck in right field.

Seth Smith stepped to the plate with two outs in the top of the sixth and stroked a single into right field. The hit snapped a streak of 15 straight batters retired by Ross. He was able to force Jonathan Schoop to fly out to left and end the inning, however, getting him through six scoreless innings with an already career-high 12 strikeouts.

• Ross finally allowed a runner to get into scoring position in the seventh. Trumbo led off the inning with a double off the wall in left. He would make his way to third two outs later on a Mancini groundout, then score when Joey Rickard singled to left. Despite allowing the run, Ross was still able to get through the inning on just nine pitches — putting him at 91 through seven.

• The young right-hander trotted back out for the eighth, the second time this season he’s done so. He forced J.J. Hardy to ground out to third for the first out of the inning, then departed after Dusty Baker pulled him in favor of left-hander Oliver Perez.

Joe Ross’s Line: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 Ks, 93 P, 67 S, 5/2 GO/FO

• Perez struck out pinch hitter Hyun Soo Kim and got Smith to fly out to Brian Goodwin in left to retire the side.

• The sole left-hander in the Orioles’ bullpen is Richard Bleier, who was given the ball to handle the top of the ninth for Baltimore. Goodwin and pinch hitter Ryan Raburn were retired quickly, bringing up Turner for his fifth plate appearance of the night. He hit a chopper on the infield that he was able to beat out without a throw.

Wilmer Difo and Harper hit back-to-back singles to bring up Lind with the bases loaded and two outs. He skied one to center field that earned many gasps off the bat, but it died in front of the warning track and sent Washington into the top of the ninth still up 6-1.

• Blake Treinen was given the opportunity to pitch the ninth, his first outing since last Friday against Oakland. He struck out Schoop to start things off, got Trumbo swinging and forced Davis to groundout and finish off the Orioles in 1-2-3 fashion.