Coming off of his worst start since joining the Washington Nationals rotation this winter, Max Scherzer (10-7, 2.11) went to the mound at Camden Yards looking to give the Nats the series win against their Beltway rivals, the Baltimore Orioles (44-44). Scherzer was able to shake off that bad outing by giving up two runs in 8.2 innings. The only runs that the Nats’ ace gave up in this game were two solo home runs by Adam Jones. The offense did their part by giving Scherzer just enough runs as they scored three in the fourth inning to win the game, 3-2, as they head to the All-Star Break winners of two straight games.
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With two outs in the bottom of the first, it was the Orioles who got on the board first. Adam Jones took a 1-2 breaking ball and hit it over the wall in left field for a solo shot. His 13th home run of the year gave the O’s a 1-0 lead.
For the first three innings, Wei-Yin Chen (4-5, 2.78) kept the Nationals’ offense off the board. The Nats had a chance to get on the board in the first inning after a two out single by Yunel Escobar and a double by Bryce Harper, but Wilson Ramos flew out to right to end the inning. However, the Nationals would capitalize on another scoring chance three innings later.
Escobar began the fourth inning by hitting a base hit to center. Later in the inning, the Nats came up with some timely two-out hits. After a Clint Robinson single, Dan Uggla (who was the designated hitter today) lined a base hit to center field to score Escobar and tie the game at one. Uggla would advance to second on the wild throw to home plate by Jones.
The Nationals would make Jones pay for that error. Tyler Moore would step up to the plate with runners on second and third and delivered a two-run double to right that put the Nats ahead, 3-1. Those would be the only runs Chen would allow. Chen went eight innings, gave up three runs (two earned), struck out seven, and walked none in the loss.
After Adam Jones hit the home run in the first, Scherzer retired the next 14 batters in a row until Jonathan Schoop hit a single to left field with one out in the sixth inning. The Orioles would make it interesting in the bottom of the ninth. With Scherzer down to his final strike, Jones hit a 1-2 slider that barely cleared the left field wall for another solo home run. His 15th of the season and third home run of the series cut the Nats lead to one and got Scherzer out of the game.
In the win, Scherzer went 8.2 innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out seven, and walked none on 115 pitches (80 strikes). Drew Storen would enter the game and strike out Chris Davis swinging to end it. Storen ends his first half with 27 saves in 29 chances. Yunel Escobar went 3-for-4 and Clint Robinson went 2-for-4, combining for five of the team’s eight total hits this afternoon.
Next Game: After Bryce Harper plays in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati, the Washington Nationals (48-39) will be back in action Friday night when they begin a three game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers (50-39) at Nats Park. You can catch the game at 7:05 PM ET on MASN and WUSA9. The starters have yet to be announced for this series.