Nationals Stay Hot, Sweep Orioles
The Washington Nationals entered this weeks series against the Baltimore Orioles coming fresh off a sweep of the Marlins in Miami and looking to gain momentum, as well as move up in the division and gain bragging rights in the Battle of the Beltway.
The Nationals went up to Baltimore on Monday afternoon a half game behind the Philadelphia Phillies for 2nd in the NL East, and 1 game behind the Atlanta Braves. Washington wasted no time making their presence known to their counterparts on the north end of the beltway. Anthony Rendon hit a three run home run in the third inning, and the Nats would only continue to add on en route to a 6-0 win behind stellar defense, including a home run saving catch by Bryce Harper. Gio Gonzalez brought his ace material up to Charm City, pitching a shutout through 7 2/3 innings. Gio had help from his infield too, as the Washington infield forced the Orioles to hit into three double plays. Shawn Kelley was the first and only man out of the bullpen and despite a rocky start in which the Orioles ended up with two runners in scoring position, Kelley settled in and closed the door for a curly W.
The Nationals entered Tuesday’s game in second place in the NL East, thanks to the Phillies 5-4 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers the previous evening, and only half a game out of first thanks to the Braves split of a doubleheader with the New York Mets. Washington couldn’t muster up quite as much offense as the previous night, but the pitching was still strong. The Nationals struck first on a solo home run from Bryce Harper in the top of the first. The Orioles, not to be outdone, tied the game in the bottom of the same inning on a solo shot by fellow free-agent-to-be Manny Machado to give Baltimore their first run of the series. The Nationals scored the next two on a single from Wilmer Difo in the second inning, and a solo home run by Mark Reynolds in the fourth. This would prove to be all the offense the Nats needed as Jeremy Hellickson and the bullpen held the Orioles off for a 3-2 win, giving the Nats their third consecutive series victory.
The Nationals entered Wednesday’s game still in second place thanks to a Braves 7-6 walkoff win over the Mets on Tuesday evening. The Nats once again couldn;t muster much offense, only scoring two runs on a solo home run by Bryce Harper in the third inning and a single by Juan Soto in the seventh. Luckily, the Nats had Max Scherzer on the mound. After a rough start his last time out in Miami, Scherzer returned to his typical two time defending Cy Young winning self on Wednesday, striking out 12 Orioles in 8 innings of scoreless baseball en route to a 2-0 Nationals victory to clinch their fifth sweep of the season, and their fourth on the road. Mere minutes after the conclusion of this game, the Braves fell 4-1 to the Mets, moving the Nats into first place in the NL East.
Nationals pitching was the story of this week, holding the Orioles to an almost unheard of 2 runs in the entire series.
Nationals will head to Atlanta to face the Braves in a four game series this weekend.
Oh, and LET’S GO CAPS!