The Washington Nationals have struggled to get their offense rolling through the first three months of the season and Wednesday was no different. Following a mid-game rain delay, the Nats were shut out 3-0 by the Baltimore Orioles to mark the fifth game this month Washington has failed to score.
Gio Gonzalez started the contest for Washington but was only able to throw four innings before a storm forced the umpire crew to call for a delay. The stoppage in play kept the teams off the field for two hours and 46 minutes, cutting both Gonzalez’s and Baltimore starter Andrew Cashner’s nights short.
In the top of the second, Mark Trumbo followed a Jonathan Schoop bunt single with a two-run homer to left field. The long ball came on a 73-mph curveball from Gonzalez; it was the third homer hit off the left-hander’s curve this season — the most of any pitch in his arsenal.
Gonzalez would allow just two hits the rest of the evening, relying heavily on groundballs to force outs. His fastball sat in upper 80s and touched 91 on a few occasions, which is right around his average velocity for this season.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 49 P, 36 S, 8/2 GO/FO
The Nationals’ offense would muster little against Cashner. Juan Soto doubled and Anthony Rendon followed with a single to put runners on the corners with one out in the first but Bryce Harper grounded into a double play to end the inning.
That would be the only inning Washington would get a runner past second against Cashner, who gave up just one hit against his final 10 batters. Rendon smacked his 19th double of the season in the bottom of the fourth but that was the extent of the Nats’ offense with Cashner on the mound.
Andrew Cashner’s Line: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 62 P, 38 S, 7/3 GO/FO
Once play resumed, each team’s bullpen was tasked with handling the final five innings. Sean Kelley got the nod for Washington, tossing two innings and making his second career at-bat. After striking out the side in the sixth, a seventh-inning Adam Jones double led to a Danny Valencia sacrifice fly that would push the score to 3-0.
Matt Grace threw two scoreless innings and Tim Collins pitched a clean ninth to keep the deficit at three but the Nationals’ offense wasn’t able to muster anything against the Orioles’ bullpen. In all, the team stranded nine baserunners and went 1-8 with runners in scoring position.
Miguel Castro worked around two walks to post two scoreless frames, Darren O’Day handled the seventh, Zach Britton flashed a filthy slider en route to a nine-pitch eighth and Brad Brach handled the final two outs to close the door on the second matchup of the three-game set.
Michael Taylor was able to extend his hitting streak to 11 games with a pinch-hit single in the ninth, marking Washington’s first hit in five innings. Trea Turner would follow with a single to salvage a 1-4 night but both runners were eventually when Mark Reynolds struck out to end the game.
Nationals now 39-33