BALTIMORE – In the first game of the Battle of the Beltway, the Orioles fell 6-0 as Alex Cobb was awarded the loss despite only three runs in seven innings. Washington’s Gio Gonzalez was flawless for the Nationals, going 7.2 scoreless innings and recording three strikeouts.
Washington dominated offensively as well with Anthony Rendon (3), Matt Adams (1), Michael Taylor (1) and Wilmer Difo (1) each batting in runs. Even though they had seven hits as a team, the Orioles couldn’t capitalize. On Tuesday, Baltimore would look to change their fortunes.
The Nationals took an early 1-0 lead with a home run from outfielder and perennial MVP candidate Bryce Harper, off of Orioles Dylan Bundy. However, the Orioles answered with a blast of their own from their MVP-caliber shortstop in Manny Machado, off of Nationals starter Jeremy Hellickson.
In the top of the second inning with Mark Reynolds at third base, Nationals second baseman Wilmer Difo dropped a bloop single into right field, scoring the aforementioned Reynolds. Reynolds would make more noise in the top of the fourth inning, taking Bundy deep to left field. In Oriole Park this is a familiar sight for Reynolds.
Keep this in mind — Reynolds played 290 games for the Orioles from 2011-2012, slashing .221/.328/.458, hitting 60 home runs and driving in 155 runs. The 34-year old first baseman then played with the Cleveland Indians (2013), New York Yankees (2013), Milwaukee Brewers (2014), St. Louis Cardinals (2015) and the Colorado Rockies (2016-2017).
“When you want to get to October, you have to win these kind of games on the road,” said Reynolds, who finished with two hits. “Just win the series, two out of three, that’s where we want to go and that’s our goal. Now we’ve got a chance to go for the sweep tomorrow and have a happy flight.”
He signed a minor league deal with the Nationals on April 12, though he had two productive seasons in Colorado. With the Rockies, Reynolds batted .274/.354/.471, hitting 44 home runs and driving in 150 runs. In the case that Washington lost first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Reynolds would be called up from Triple-A Syracuse. After playing 10 games with the Chiefs, Reynolds was called up on May 12, with Zimmerman landing on the 10-day disabled list.
“I played a few games here,” Reynolds said of being back at Camden Yards. “I love playing here. It’s a great place to hit, good atmosphere, beautiful yard. I’ve got a lot of games under my belt here and I miss playing here.”
Since joining the club, Reynolds has batted .406/.457/.906, hitting five home runs and driving in seven runs (as of Monday).
“Just getting in these grooves sometimes, ” Reynolds said of his hot bat, since being called up on May 12. “I got a base hit to right field tonight. You get in these things where you hit the ball and find holes. Can’t really explain it — if you could, everybody would do it. Right now, I don’t want to think too much, just keep swinging it, putting good contact on it and see where it goes.”
Baltimore clawed back in the bottom of the fifth. With two runners on and two outs, center fielder Adam Jones approached the plate. Chance Sisco and the speedy Jace Peterson were on second and first respectively, with Jones doubling. Sisco scored easily, but Peterson was gunned out at the plate on the relay throw. With Machado on deck, it was a seemingly questionable decision to send Peterson.
Bundy gave up 11 hits, but he battled for six innings, keeping the Orioles within arm’s reach of tying the game. He went six innings, allowing 11 hits, three runs (three earned), striking out six batters, allowing no walks and two home runs.
“In a lot of ways I this is obviously not a good statistically as last time, but this is a good example of why Dylan [Bundy] is Dylan,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter of Bundy’s performance. “You could tell he was not quite as crisp as his last outing, but to get us through six innings and only give up three runs, that was impressive. That’s in a lot of ways — I’m just as proud of that effort as the one we got when everything’s working for you.
“He never had a good feel for his changeup tonight. But he worked his way through it and kept us engaged in that game. That was, in a lot of ways, as impressive as the other one [start]. That’s why you think so much of Dylan. He just finds a way. That was good.”
Tanner Scott, Mychal Givens and Brad Brach all had a good day on the mound. Scott entered the game in the seventh inning, going one inning, allowing no hits and striking out a batter. Givens followed up with a scoreless inning of his own, though it got a bit dicey with him getting out of a self-induced, bases loaded jam. Brach entered the game in the ninth inning for Baltimore, getting Turner to ground out, Harper to fly out and striking out Rendon.
“Tanner [Scott] was good again and Mike [Givens] and Brad [Brach] had three days off, so they needed an inning today,” said Showalter of his relievers’ efforts. “I thought Brad was real sharp.”
In Baltimore’s half of the ninth inning, Trey Mancini was hit by a pitch after a Mark Trumbo pop out. After Mancini’s walk, Joey Rickard reached first safely on an infield single. With Craig Gentry entering the game for Sisco, Sean Doolittle struck him out and he would do the same with Andrew Susac entering the game for Peterson. Baltimore lost the game 3-2, with Bundy taking the loss and Hellickson taking the win.
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(Photo Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)