WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Ross had a career-high 12 strikeouts in a sparkling performance, and the weary Washington Nationals breezed past the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 Thursday night.
Stephen Drew homered into the second deck in right field and Trea Turner had three hits and a career-best three stolen bases for the Nationals, who took control with a four-run first inning against Alec Asher (2-4).
Ross (3-2) gave up one run and four hits over 7 1/3 innings. The right-hander fanned six straight at one point, twice struck out the side, walked none and carried a two-hit shutout into the seventh.
His outing was a bit of a surprise, given that Ross entered with a 7.34 ERA after giving up a combined 12 runs and 19 hits in his previous two starts.
The game was a makeup of a rainout on May 11, and it was painfully apparent that neither team was happy about giving up an off day to participate in the delayed finale of the so-called Beltway Series.
Washington was coming off a nine-game, 10-day trip to the West Coast, and the Orioles had just finished playing two straight bullpen-draining, extra-inning games against Pittsburgh.
“I’m cranky,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said in the dugout before the game.
The Orioles played without third baseman Manny Machado, who sustained hand and wrist injuries upon being spiked on a double steal Wednesday night against Pittsburgh. Showalter also rested center fielder Adam Jones.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker, similarly, allowed three players to get their rest anyway: Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy were not in the starting lineup.
“This game here was supposed to be an off day,” Baker said. “So this kind of messed up our plan. Now we have 21 days in a row. So you spot guys. You have to try to have the best lineup that you can get out there, the freshest lineup.”
The nine guys that Baker started did just fine.
Turner walked and stole two bases in the first inning before scoring on an infield hit by Bryce Harper. Michael Taylor added a two-run double, and the Nationals were on their way to evening the season series against their neighboring rivals at 2-2.
Drew made it 6-1 in the fifth when he lined Ubaldo Jimenez’s second pitch of the game into the right-field seats.
HARPER RIPS IT
Harper literally knocked the cover off the ball — to a degree anyway.
The slugger hit a foul ball off the plate, and the impact tore away part of the baseball. After the bounce, the ball flopped and twirled outside the third base line.
Orioles: Machado had an MRI and X-ray that revealed no extensive damage. “Just sore,” Showalter said. “Hopefully it’s day to day. Though he didn’t dodge the slide, it looks like we might have avoided some more extensive damage.”
Nationals: OF Jayson Werth still has swelling in his bruised foot and won’t be coming off the DL anytime soon. “It’s not going to be quick,” Baker said. … LHP Sammy Solis threw a 40-pitch rehab assignment Wednesday in Florida. … RHP Joe Blanton (shoulder inflammation) began his rehabilitation assignment by pitching one shutout inning for Double-A Harrisburg.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (6-4, 2.93 ERA) takes on the New York Yankees on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series in the Bronx. The Orioles are 21-13 against the AL East, including 7-2 against New York.
Nationals: Washington continues interleague play when Texas comes to town Friday night. Rangers 2008 draft pick Tanner Roark (6-2, 3.95 ERA) will start for the Nationals.
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