WASHINGTON (AP) — Presented with identical opportunities to ring up a big inning, the Washington Nationals took full advantage and Baltimore Orioles squandered the chance.
That goes a long way toward explaining why the Nationals are a contender and the Orioles own the worst record in the big leagues.
Trea Turner went 4 for 4 with a homer, Anthony Rendon drove in three runs and Washington extended its recent domination of the Orioles with a 9-7 victory Tuesday night.
The game was essentially decided in the fifth inning, which began with Baltimore leading 4-1.
In the top half, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs and scored only one run — when Manny Machado hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
Washington loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half and batted around, scoring four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Adam Eaton contributed a two-run single, Rendon hit a sacrifice fly and Bryce Harper chased starter David Hess with an RBI double.
“They did a lot better job cashing in their bases loaded, nobody out situation than we did,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded.
For the game, Baltimore was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals were 5 for 10.
“This team is starting to become relentless,” manager Dave Martinez said. “They kept pounding and pounding and pounding, had a couple of big innings there and scored some runs.”
The Nationals trailed 6-5 before getting six hits in a four-run seventh. Rendon delivered a two-run double off Tanner Scott (0-1) that made it 7-6, and Turner capped his four-hit night with a double.
Both teams noted that more than a couple of Washington’s hits were bloopers and seeing-eye grounders, but the Nationals certainly weren’t about to apologize.
“I feel like all year we’ve been hitting balls right at people,” Turner said, “so it’s nice to get a bunch of those in one game and come out with a win.”
Washington has won six straight over its neighboring inter-league rival, including four games this season by a combined 20-8.
Pitching in his second big-league game, Nationals starter Jefry Rodriguez gave up five runs, four hits and four walks in five innings.
Justin Miller (5-0) pitched two innings of relief, newcomer Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect eighth and Sean Doolittle gave up a solo home run to Joey Rickard while earning his 19th save.
Jace Peterson and Trey Mancini each hit two-run homers for the Orioles, who have lost 16 of 19.
This one can be blamed on an all-too-telling fifth inning.
“It’s just one of those things where if they got hits they seemed to have found holes,” Showalter said. “They hit some balls hard, too.”
It’s been a tough year for Harper, whose batting average dipped to .212 following a 1-for-24 stretch though Monday.
“He’s handled it with class and dignity,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He’s more worried about the wins than the hits, and that’s an important aspect that he has learned throughout his career. You know he’s become a team leader for us. When you’re going your worst, you have to be at your best and I think that’s what Harp’s showed so far this season.”
Nationals: Placed 1B Matt Adams on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to June 16) with a fractured left index finger. Additionally, Washington optioned RHP Wander Suero (1-0, 3.63 ERA) to Triple-A Syracuse, recalled Rodriguez from Double-A Harrisburg and added reliever Kelvin Herrera, obtained in a trade with Kansas City on Monday.
Orioles: DH Pedro Alvarez was designated for assignment in the wake of a 1-for-18 skid that dropped his batting average to .181. Baltimore also selected the contract of INF Steve Wilkerson from Triple-A Norfolk and recalled C Caleb Joseph, who now has his brother, Corban, as a teammate.
Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (hamstring) threw a simulated game in the bullpen, throwing 50 pitches without facing batters.
Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (back) is expected to come off the DL on Wednesday; OF Colby Rasmus (hip) could be activated Thursday and 3B Tim Beckham (core surgery) was slated to play nine innings for Norfolk on Tuesday. If all goes well, he could come off the DL this weekend.
Nationals: Gio Gonzalez (6-3, 3.01 ERA) starts the second game of the series Wednesday night. The lefty threw 6 2/3 innings in a 6-0 win over Baltimore on May 28.
Orioles: Cashner (2-8, 4.98) returns from a stint on the DL in which he missed just one start.
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