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  • May
    28

    Out Everything'd - Orioles fall to Nats 9-to-3

    Written by Mike Laws

    Out-everything’d

    Gausman loses Battle of the Phenoms

    Orioles 3, Washington 9

     

    In baseball, as in chaos theory, the slightest of variations can entail wildly divergent outcomes. And so while Tuesday night’s sodden affair at Nats Park was not without a certain remarkable symmetry — both teams trotted out a hard-throwing right-hander who recently made the leap from double-A, neither of whom lasted five innings; both starters were spelled by hugely effective lefty relievers; for both offenses, the vast majority of the output came by way of home run — in the end, despite the appearance of all other things being equal (like this was some kind of controlled experiment), it was the home team who’d won this thing going away …

     

    And so, sadly, on to the bullet points:

     

    • Both rookie hurlers — Nathan Karns, for the Nats, and Kevin Gausman, for the O’s — showed off spans of brilliance interrupted by periods of eminent hittability. The difference being, of course, that the former escaped his first inning of work having conceded only a pair of hard-hit baseballs — while Gausman dug himself an immediate three-run hole, retiring Washington leadoff man Denard Span on a single pitch but surrendering back-to-back singles to Stephen Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman before Adam LaRoche unloaded on a 2-0 get-me-over fastball, sending it sailing into the bleachers in right-center … 

     

    • Even so, the Oriole offense, as it usually does, would respond in kind. While Gausman set about calming down — after the LaRoche bomb, he’d retire the next eight Nationals he faced, needing just seven pitches to set the side down in the third — the Birds rallied to knot this one up at 3, with Chris Davis singling and Matt Wieters doubling him in, in the second, and then both Davis and J.J. Hardy launching solo shots off Karns in the third: Hardy’s, like LaRoche’s, on a 2-0 fastball, and Davis’s on a 1-2 offering that missed its target badly …

     

    • Sadly, the two-strike/missed-target homer thing was to become a running theme in fairly short order. After LaRoche walked to lead off the National fourth, Gausman employed a wicked curve/slider/slurve (whatever his third pitch is) and his trusty upper-nineties fastball to jump out ahead of Tyler Moore nothing-and-two; but then he hung another of those breaking pitches to the Washington left fielder, which Moore was able to stay back on and hook into left and over the bullpen wall. 5-3, soon to be 6, when Roger Bernadina (he of the .119 average and no home runs, entering the at-bat) turned on a 1-2 fastball, lining it viciously to right and over the out-of-town scoreboard. And from there the Nats would add a single from catcher Kurt Suzuki, a sacrifice bunt from his battery mate, and a double ripped down the right field line by Span. 7-3. Gausman would be permitted to work the rest of the frame, but wouldn’t come back out for the fifth …

     

    • And though Karns would do him only one out better, fanning pinch hitter Steve Pearce before issuing consecutive walks to Nate McLouth and Manny Machado, here was one of those moments of divergence: Rather than a big inning of the Orioles’ own, southpaw Zach Duke, called upon to strand the runners inherited from Karns, did so with aplomb, requiring just two pitches to ground Nick Markakis into a rally-killing 6-3 double play …

     

    • Which, like I’ve alluded to, holding the score level was something the other lefty bullpen arm in this one, T.J. McFarland, was also up for: Over his two commendable innings, McFarland conceded only a lonely leadoff single, to Zimmerman. Trouble was, Duke, the eventual winner, matched him tit for tat, needing, amazingly, only six more pitches to mow down the meat of the Baltimore order in the sixth …

     

    • And from there it was down to the other relievers: Drew Storen, for the Nats, who erased a single from Hardy to begin the seventh by way of a Yamaico Navarro GIDP; Troy Patton, for the O’s, who delivered a one-two-three Washington half. But in the eighth, another telling moment, as the Nats’ Tyler Clippard first restored hope to the many Oriole fans in attendance, yielding consecutive singles (McLouth, Machado) to start the frame, before dashing it entirely, inducing harmless fly-ball outs to center, left and right, respectively, off the bats of Markakis, Adam Jones and Davis. After which Patton promptly surrendered LaRoche’s second dinger of the evening, leading off the Washington half of the inning, then a double to Ian Desmond, then another RBI knock, this time a single, from Bernadina. That’s now 9-3 for the home side, which would need only one more solid relief appearance, this time from Fernando Abad, retiring the O’s one-two-three in the ninth, to put this one, comfortably, in the books. And on to Camden Yards we go … 

     

     

     

     

     

     

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