Written by Chris Slade
After getting postponed in D.C. last night, the Orioles and Nationals made the trip up to OPACY for tonight's game with Bud Norris and Doug Fister on the mound. Jayson Werth led off the scoring with an RBI double and Adam LaRoche followed with an RBI single. Chris Davis made it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the 1st with an RBI single. Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond hit solo shots in the 2nd and 4th respectively to put the Nats up 4-1. Manny Machado answered with a solo blast of his own to cut the lead to 4-2. Werth came through for the Nats again with a solo home run in the 7th. The Orioles weren't able to add any more runs as they fell in this one 5-2.
Bud Norris made his first start since heading to the 15-day DL with a pulled groin. He looked rusty tonight and the Nationals were able to take advantage. He only made through four complete innings tonight before being lifted for Brad Brach in the 5th, his shortest outing of the season. His slider didn't have his usual bite to it and the fastball caught a little to much of the plate. The Nationals responded with two home runs off Norris, who allowed six hits total.
Final Line: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, Loss
Brad Brach entered in the 5th inning and worked out of the inning without any more runs scoring. He did however, see his recent string of scoreless innings come to a close with the solo homer allowed to Jayson Werth in the 7th.
Brian Matusz took over for Brach with two outs in the 7th, retiring lefty Adam LaRoche on a groundout. Matusz stayed on to work scoreless 8th and 9th innings, keeping the game at 5-2.
The Orioles lineup had a couple opportunities to do some damage against Doug Fister but weren't able to capitalize. Ultimately, it was a pretty solid outing on Fister's part. He's an above average pitcher and was able to hold most of the lineup, save for red-hot Manny Machado, in check.
Manny had another huge game, finishing 3-for-4 with a home run. Unfortunately, that home run didn't come with runners on base.
Chris Davis had a 2-for-4 night and drove in a run as he begins to take baby steps (we hope) at climbing out of that awful slump he has been in of late.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Caleb Joseph made a fine inning-ending catch in the 6th at the edge of the wall and screen behind home plate, running into the wall in the process.
The Orioles played an error free game on defense tonight.
Key Moments In The Game
The Orioles had a chance to make some noise against Fister in the 3rd inning with two runners on, one out, and Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis due up. Fister was able to retire them both on a groundout and pop up to avoid the dreaded three-run homer.
Other Notes/ Musings
Manny Machado is now 8-for-10 over his last two games. He's 11-for-19 over his last four. Maybe, he should get suspended more often. Kidding.
The postponed game from yesterday will be made up on August 4th. I'm guessing both teams will be losing a bye they had scheduled for that day. So it goes with rainouts.
The Blue Jays lost in Anaheim today, 8-7, so the Orioles remain 2 1/2 ahead of them atop the AL East.
The pitching schedule will be bumped back again as the original probable pitchers for tonight, Wei-Yin Chen and Gio Gonzalez, will take the mound tomorrow.
Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board