Aug 4, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT
Though they faced each other three times last month, the Nationals and Orioles knew their annual Battle of the Beltways wouldn’t be completed until tonight, when the two clubs could play their makeup game required from a rainout at Nationals Park. Baltimore took two of those first three games, so the Nats need a win tonight to ensure a series split.
We’ve got a good pitching matchup. Tanner Roark goes for the Nationals, looking to earn his 19th win in his first calendar year in the major leagues, no small accomplishment at all. Kevin Gausman, trying to emerge as the Orioles’ young ace, will face him.
Steven Souza Jr. is here, having replaced Nate McLouth (right shoulder inflammation) on the 25-man roster. Updates to come…
BALTIMORE ORIOLES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 92.7 FM, 94.3 FM, 106.7 FM, 980 FM, 1500 AM, XM 184, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 4 mph RF to LF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Tanner Roark
RF Nick Markakis
3B Manny Machado
CF Adam Jones
LF Nelson Cruz
1B Chris Davis
SS J.J. Hardy
2B Ryan Flaherty
C Caleb Joseph
RHP Kevin Gausman
HP Gabe Morales
1B Paul Nauert
2B Larry Vanover (cc)
3B Vic Carapazza
7:06 p.m. — And we’re underway. There are, as you’d expect a lot of Orioles fans here. Will be curious how it all shakes out once the full crowd arrives.
7:11 p.m. — And a 1-2-3 top of the first for Tanner Roark, who did it on 12 pitches. At this point, we’ve pretty come to expect it, right?
7:25 p.m. — The Nats tried to get a 2-out rally going in the bottom of the first, with Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche each singling to right. LaRoche, after hitting .159 in July, has now reached base in 6-of-14 plate appearances to begin August. That’s a good sign. But with runners on the corners, Ian Desmond took a 97-mph fastball on the outside corner from Kevin Gausman, ending a scoreless first.
7:40 p.m. — Here’s a good sign: Wilson Ramos crushed a first-pitch fastball from Gausman over the wall in right-center for his fourth homer of the season. You know Ramos is locked in when he drives a ball that way. The Nats will happily take it and a 1-0 lead after two innings.
7:48 p.m. — It’s a good night to be a No. 8-hitting catcher, apparently. Caleb Joseph answered Ramos’ solo homer with one of his own, tagging a 1-0 fastball from Roark about 8-to-10 rows up into the left-field bleachers leading off the third inning. Things could’ve been worse when Desmond booted Manny Machado’s grounder, extending the inning. But Roark needed to throw only one extra pitch, immediately getting Adam Jones to fly out. So no harm done. It’s 1-1 heading to the bottom of the third.
8:03 p.m. — Denard Span didn’t provide us any drama tonight in trying to extend his reaching base streak. He led off the third with a double to left-center, making it an even 30 games getting on base. That’s now tied for second in Nats history. Alfonso Soriano also did it in 2006, Ryan Zimmerman holds the club record at 43 games in 2009 (part of that streak included his 30-game hit streak, also a club record). Span’s latest time reaching base paid off, because after advancing to third on Anthony Rendon’s single, he scored without a throw on Werth’s sac fly to center. So the Nats are back on t0p, 2-1, after three.
8:23 p.m. — Seven of the first 16 Nats to step to the plate tonight reached safely, evidence that they’ve had Gausman on the ropes. But they can’t quite deliver the knockout punch. With runners on the corners and nobody out in the fourth, Ramos grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Yes, it scored a run to make it 3-1, but it killed any chance of a big inning. You just hope we aren’t looking back on this by night’s end as a missed opportunity. To the fifth…
8:33 p.m. — And the Orioles get another run right back when Markakis golfs a down-and-in curveball from Roark into the right-field bullpen. At first, it didn’t look like a bad pitch from Roark, but upon further review, Ramos was set up on the outside corner, so he did miss his spot by quite a bit. It’s 3-2 Nats, still a long way to go in this one.
9:10 p.m. — Chase here taking over for Mark. We are still at 3-2 after six innings, despite the Nats seeing Cabrera reach third in the bottom half of the sixth. He walked with two outs and reached third on a Ramos single to right field. Roark was up next, however, and lined out to the first baseman. There was another event of note in the top of the inning. Cruz lined out to center field as Span made a tumbling grab while running in towards the infield. In the process he cut a divot out of the grass with his knee. Werth came behind him to fix it as the crowd gave a loud applause. One out later, when the frame was over, Roark waited outside the dugout for Span to give him a high five. The crowd then gave Span a standing ovation. Very cool moment.
9:31 p.m. — The Orioles got three runs in the top of the seventh to go up 5-3 on the Nats. A pair of doubles by Hardy and Flaherty tied the game at 3-3 before a pinch-hitting Delmon Young singled home another run to make it 4-3. Ross Detwiler would come in to allow a single to Markakis before being replaced by Craig Stammen. Stammen then allowed three singles, only one to score a run. Still, the game is now 5-3 with Roark getting charged with all five runs. Span will leadoff the bottom of the seventh.
9:57 p.m. — Well, this one got sorta ugly. The Orioles added two more runs in the eighth to make it a 7-3 game. Joseph came up with the big hit this time, a two-RBI single with one out. A passed ball put both Davis and Hardy into scoring position, though, which was not good for Stammen and Ramos. Jerry Blevins came in to get the last two outs. Now the Nats have six outs to come back from a four-run deficit.
10:05 p.m. — The bottom of the eighth was not a good showing for the Nationals. Brad Brach set them down 1-2-3 in ugly fashion. LaRoche struck out swinging and Desmond struck out looking. Harper got a good piece of one, but it went straight to Markakis in right field. Blevins will go back out there to face Jones, a pinch-hitter and Davis.
10:12 p.m. — Blevins retired the O’s in order as Darren O’Day will now pitch for Baltimore. Cabrera, Ramos and a likely pinch-hitter (perhaps Souza?) are up next for the Nats.
10:18 p.m. — That’s it, Nats lose 7-3. They are now 60-50 on the season and three games up in the NL East.
NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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