WASHINGTON (AP) — The rain was heavy and relentless. As the puddles grew deeper on the tarp at Nationals Park, the Baltimore Orioles were left to wonder if their bid for a rare road victory would be thwarted by, of all things, the weather.
During a season in which very little has worked in their favor, the Orioles withstood a long rain delay to beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.
Baltimore led 2-0 after four innings when play was stopped. After a wait of 2 hours, 43 minutes, the game resumed with a few hundred fans from the announced crowd of 32,153 sprinkled around the lower seating bowl.
Mark Trumbo homered for Baltimore, and Andrew Cashner and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in a game that ended long after midnight.
“It was nice,” Trumbo said. “I’m glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash. But it ended up being pretty big for us.”
Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak to Washington that began last May, won for only the fourth time in 20 games and improved the majors’ worst road record to 10-28.
This one was worth the wait.
“It’s never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark,” Trumbo said. “Then you have to restart. It’s almost two games in one, so, great job by our guys tonight.”
The Nationals managed only two hits following the delay, both in the ninth inning.
“It happens. You can’t do anything about the rain,” manager Dave Martinez said. “You’ve got to come out and get yourself ready to play. I’m not going to make any excuses.”
The rain delay cut short a solid pitching performance by Cashner, who allowed three hits and no walks over four innings in his return from an 11-day stay on the disabled list with back spasms.
Miguel Castro (2-2) followed with two hitless innings, Darren O’Day pitched a perfect seventh and Zach Britton got four outs.
Brad Brach allowed the Nationals to load the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out Mark Reynolds.
Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Gio Gonzalez (6-4), and for a while it appeared the drive would be washed out by the rain.
“One pitch. That was the whole game,” Gonzalez lamented. “That was it.”
Indeed, it all ended well for the Orioles, who added a run in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia .
Nationals OF Bryce Harper went 0 for 4, dropping his batting average to .209.
Martinez said Harper has been working hard with batting coach Kevin Long, and the manager expects the five-time All-Star to end his prolonged slump with a flourish.
“He’s going to hit. I know he’s going to carry us for a month or two or for whatever,” Martinez said.
WAITING FOR DAVIS
Now in the third year of a seven-year, $161 million contract, Baltimore’s Chris Davis is batting .150 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 57 games. He last played on June 11, when he went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts against Boston.
Since then, Davis has been working on his swing and improving his mental outlook. His return appears imminent.
“A couple of days,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We’re pretty close to it.”
With Cashner coming off the DL, the Orioles optioned infielder Corban Joseph to Double-A Bowie. That ended the 24-hour, feel-good story of Corban and catcher Caleb Joseph as brothers on the same team.
Orioles: 3B Tim Beckham (core surgery) went 1 for 4 with 3 strikeouts in a rehab game with Triple-A Norfolk. … RHP Chris Tillman (back) began his rehab assignment by giving up three runs in two innings for Class A Aberdeen.
Nationals: Martinez said patience is the key in awaiting the return of RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder). “We’re really going to take our time and make sure he’s 100 percent,” the manager said. … 1B Ryan Zimmerman (oblique) is taking grounders and some swings. … C Matt Wieters (oblique) caught in the bullpen but is not yet running at full speed.
Orioles: Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.48 ERA) pitches the finale of the three-game series Wednesday night.
Nationals: Max Scherzer (10-3, 2.06) tries to avoid his first three-game losing streak since August 2015.
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