May 28, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals Return The Favor, Pound Orioles

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After last night’s Orioles hit party, the Nats decided it was their turn to get in on the offensive fun.

Nate Karns was adequate in his MLB debut and the offense pounded out 13 hits and nine runs, thanks in part to two homers by Adam LaRoche, and the Nationals (27-25) beat up the Orioles, 9-3.

May 28, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) scores a run during the eighth inning as Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) is unable to apply the tag at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

LaRoche kicked it off early, with a three run bomb off Kevin Gausman to give the Nats an early lead. However, Karns could not suppress the potent O’s offense. Matt Wieters had a one-run double in the second, and Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy both hit solo shots in the fourth to knot the score.

But in the bottom of the fourth, the Nats busted it open. Tyler Moore hit a two run homer, his fifth straight game with a hit, and Roger Bernadina followed it up with one of his own. One out later, Denard Span drove in Kurt Suzuki on a double. Gausman served it up for the Nats, who gladly took advantage. He allowed seven runs on eight hits and one walk in four innings while striking out none. In fact, the Nationals only struck out once all game. With a 7-3 lead, the pitching took over.

Karns struggled a bit in the fifth, issuing two walks and recording just one out before being pulled. All in all, his debut went well: he threw 4.1 innings and allowed three runs on five hits with two walks while striking out three. Miraculously, Zach Duke (W, 1-1) came in and pitched efficiently to bail him out. Duke’s second pitch was a double play ball that ended the fifth, and he pitched a perfect sixth on just six more pitches. His season ERA plummeted nearly a full run to 8.10. Drew Storen and Tyler Clippardeach pitched scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth.

The Nats’ offensive barrage reached its finale in the eighth. LaRoche led the frame off with his second homer of the game, marking his third multi-homer game this season. He was 2-3 overall with a walk, three runs scored, and four RBI. Shortly afterwards, Bernadina singled in Ian Desmond to put the game at its eventual final of 9-3 before Fernando Abad pitched a scoreless ninth.

For those of you on Beard Watch, it appears to have assumed a bit of an opposite role to its original intent. It was called a “rally beard” by the official Nationals twitter account, much to Davey’s wife’s chagrin. The Nationals’ offense is clearly back in a big way, with one strikeout, nine runs, and thirteen hits, but the beard will stay for now.

Next Game: Wednesday in Baltimore, 7:05PM. Zimmermann (8-2, 1.71) v. Tillman (4-2, 3.68)

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Tags: Adam LaRoche Baltimore Orioles Nathan Karns Washington Nationals

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