Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Battle of Beltways begins today at Nationals Park.
The Nationals go into this series banged up. They were already without Jayson Werth, Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos. Now they're without Bryce Harper, sidelined today with what Davey Johnson said was diagnosed as bursitis in his left knee. Harper will probably miss tomorrow's game as well, then might be able to DH at Camden Yards later this week.
Gio Gonzalez gets the start, looking to continue his recent hot streak (1.29 ERA over his last three outings). He'll be facing right-hander Jason Hammel, who somehow has a 6-2 record despite a 5.37 ERA.
Plenty of updates to come from the ballpark on this spectacular Memorial Day in the nation's capital...
BALTIMORE ORIOLES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB Network (outside D.C./Baltimore market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), WTEM (980 AM), XM 183
Weather: Partly cloudy, 72 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
2B Steve Lombardozzi
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
RF Roger Bernadina
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Gio Gonzalez
RF Nick Markakis
3B Manny Machado
SS J.J. Hardy
CF Adam Jones
1B Chris Davis
C Matt Wieters
LF Steve Pearce
2B Yamaico Navarro
RHP Jason Hammel
HP Phil Cuzzi
1B Tom Hallion (cc)
2B Ron Kulpa
3B Mike Estabrook
1:07 p.m. — And we are underway with a strike from Gio Gonzalez to Nick Markakis. Big crowd on hand, lots of red and orange in attendance.
1:13 p.m. — A 15-pitch top of the first for Gio, who did issue a two-out walk to J.J. Hardy but otherwise kept the ball from leaving the infield. Good stuff from the lefty to get this one started.
1:19 p.m. — And a 1-2-3 bottom of the first for Jason Hammel, who struck out both Denard Span and Steve Lombardozzi, then got Ryan Zimmerman to ground out. Scoreless after one.
1:26 p.m. — Quick note: You may have noticed Rick Eckstein is coaching first base today. That's because Tony Tarasco left to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
1:28 p.m. — Gio has issued a couple of walks in two innings, but that's all so far. Twenty-nine pitches (16 strikes) for the lefty.
1:35 p.m. — You know, Adam LaRoche is becoming quite a threat on the basepaths. And I'm only being partially sarcastic about that. He just stole second base, his second of the season and eighth of his career. And it certainly paid off here, because it allowed him to score moments later on Tyler Moore's double down the left-field line. Nats lead 1-0 after two.
1:47 p.m. — Here's Ryan Zimmerman's season in a nutshell: He had three grounders hit to him in the third inning. He made the two difficult plays flawlessly, but he misfired on a routine throw to second base for his ninth error. Well, it didn't cost the Nats this time. Still 1-0 heading to the bottom of the third.
1:54 p.m. — How about that, Gio doubles to deep left-center. Of course, he then was thrown out trying to advance to third base on a grounder right in front of him. Not very good baserunning there by the pitcher. Still 1-0 Nats after three.
2:15 p.m. — And the leadoff walk really comes back to haunt Gio in the top of the fourth. That opened the floodgates for a three-run inning, the big blow coming from Markakis on a two-out, two-run single. Just like that, the Nats trail 3-1 in the middle of the fourth.
2:29 p.m. — Make it 4-1 Orioles as Jones leads off the fifth with a double and late scores on Wieters' sacrifice fly. Craig Stammen now warming in the pen, probably to take over for Gio in the sixth. So cross him off the list of potential starters tomorrow.
2:36 p.m. — Well, even though Stammen is warming, Gio hit for himself in the bottom of the fifth. And he's back out for the sixth. Guess Davey really doesn't want to burn up his bullpen before tomorrow's game. Still 4-1.
2:47 p.m. — Another walk issued by Gio with two outs in the sixth, and he's done for the day. In comes Stammen. Meanwhile, the Nats still have one run off Hammel and trail 4-1. A reminder: They have yet to win a game this season in which they trailed by more than two runs at any point.
3:03 p.m. — The Nats get one run back in the bottom of the sixth, as Span triples and Zimmerman singles to notch his team-leading 24th RBI. Not bad considering he's only played in 37 games. That's a 106-RBI pace over a full season. But with a chance to do more damage to Hammel, Moore struck out, stranding two on with two out. So it's 4-2 Orioles as we move to the seventh.
3:33 p.m. — The Orioles add another run off Stammen in the top of the seventh, making it 5-2, and the Nats can't drive in a run in the bottom of the inning against Hammel. They're now 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position today, continuing a season-long trend. Still 5-2.
3:47 p.m. — Henry Rodriguez on for the eighth, bringing some serious gas out there. Unfortunately, he only poured that gas on the fire. So it's now 6-2 as the Nats are down to their final six outs.
3:57 p.m. — Drew Storen now pitching the ninth inning ... with the Nats down four runs. That tells you a little bit about the state of things right now.
4:06 p.m. — Bottom of the ninth. Nats need a miracle.
4:11 p.m. — That'll do it. Darren O'Day finishes off a 6-2 Orioles victory. The Nats fall to 26-25 and still can't seem to get themselves on any kind of prolonged hot streak.