Game one of the Battle of the Beltways went to the Baltimore Orioles last night, in a game that featured about as solid an outing by Kevin Gausman as you’re going to see. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Gausman had retired Washington in order in the first inning before many of the fans had even settled in. As you may recall, Gausman of course is coming off his first career ejection last last week in Boston. If you’re going to bounce back from that, this is how to do it.
The big storyline coming into the game of course was Washington catcher Matt Wieters returning to his old stomping grounds at Camden Yards. When he came up to bat for the first time, the Camden faithful didn’t let him down. Wieters received a “Standing O,” to which he waved and gestured to the crowd in thanks. That moment was well deserved by Wieters, and well done by everyone all around.
Oriole bats also got off to a hot start, with three home runs in the last of the first inning. Joey Rickard led off with a solo shot, which was followed later in the inning by an additional solo homer by Mark Trumbo. But you really knew that the Orioles were in business when Trey Mancini smacked a two-run shot that was about as deep as any home run I’ve seen at Camden Yards, giving the O’s a 4-0 lead after one.
Caleb Joseph also had a hot game, turning in four hits for the first time in his career. One of those was an RBI-single in the fourth inning, giving the O’s a 5-0 lead. Later in that inning Joey Rickard would reach on a throwing error which allowed an additional run to score, and the Birds opened up a 6-0 lead.
But this is the Battle of the Beltways; it’s never easy. Washington would get an RBI-double by Taylor in the fifth, and an RBI-single by Harper in the sixth. Harper would also smack a solo home run in the eighth to cut the Orioles’ lead to 6-3. No harm, no foul – right?
Yes and no. Washington quickly put a couple of runners on base in the ninth against Brach, bringing none other than Matt Wieters to the plate representing the tying run. And Wieters almost haunted his old team. He doubled to center field (and was lifted for a pinch-runner), however the runners didn’t get a good read on the ball. Only one run was able to score, leaving Washington with the go-ahead run coming to the plate and one out.
That brought Goodwin to the plate as a pinch hitter, and he swung at the first pitch – rolling it over to first base. After Chris Davis fielded the ball and stepped on first, he realized that the runner at second was off the bag. First the Orioles had him in a rundown, and it was then continued with the runner at third who had tried to get home during the rundown, and who was eventually tagged out to end the game.
The Orioles did get a bit fortunate there, because as I tweeted out after the game, that was one of the worst executed rundowns I’ve ever seen from an offensive standpoint. I suspect what happened was that the runner at second base missed a sign, and thought he was supposed to run on contact. Maybe he was for all I know. But either way, from Washington’s standpoint it’s an unfortunate way to end a game in a loss. But the Orioles will take it.
The series at Camden Yards (as well as the homestand) concludes tonight. Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the Orioles. He’ll be opposed by Washington’s Max Scherzer. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.