May 24, 2022

Washington Nationals Game 40 Review: Nats comeback but can’t complete rally; fall to O’s 6-5

This season for the Washington Nationals, their starting pitching has been a hallmark and served as a big part of their strong start; however, on Saturday night at Nationals Park, pitcher Ross Detwiler struggled and the surprising Baltimore Orioles pulled out another one-run win, 6-5.

The Nats have lost three straight games and trail the Atlanta Braves by 1 ½ games in the National League East.

It was a beautiful, picture-perfect  night for a ballgame, as 42,331  fans filled Nationals Park to watch the second contest of the first go-round of the ‘Battle of the Beltways’ of the 2012 season, but sadly, it was a nightmare for Detwiler.

He put in his team in an early hole, as they trailed 6-0 by the end of the fifth inning; however, the offense for the Nationals (23-17) – which has been moribund the past few days – come alive thereafter, rallying for five runs, but came up short in their comeback.

Detwiler – in his by far his most disappointing start of the year — went five innings and gave up six runs on nine hits, taking the loss. He struck out three and walked one.

The Orioles (27-14) tagged Detwiler in the second for their first run as Robert Andino’s two-run double gave them a 2-0 lead; however, Baltimore’s outfield duo – Adam Jones and Nick Markakis – would use the long ball to nearly put the game out of reach for Washington.

Jones’ home run – a two-run laser shot to left field and 14th of the year – in the third inning off Detwiler, gave Baltimore a 4-0 lead. Two innings later, Markakis would also hit a two run homer – his eighth of the season — off Detwiler to left-center field gave the Orioles a 6-0 advantage.

Detwiler (3-3, 3.65) looked utterly bewildered that Markakis hit the ball out of the yard. It seemed he – plus the Nationals fans – at the stadium were stunned at the Orioles were doing on their home turf.

Once Detwiler was pulled from the contest, the Washington bullpen – Craig Stammen, Ryan Perry and Henry Rodriguez – would give their mates a fighting chance by pitching four scoreless innings.

Detwiler’s counterpart on the mound, Baltimore’s Jason Hammel, was in control for the first half of the game. Hammel stymied Washington until the fifth inning as Steve Lombardozzi’s RBI-single gave them their first run on the game.

They would score three more in the sixth inning to come within two of Baltimore’s lead, 6-4, as Rick Ankiel plated in a run with an RBI-single, and then Carlos Maldonado drove in another run with a groundout. Roger Bernadina followed up with a single to plate Maldonado.

The Nationals added some more intrigue towards the end of the game. Ryan Zimmerman’s solo two-out home run – his second of 2012 – in the bottom of ninth off Baltimore closer Jim Johnson sent the ballpark into frenzy. That brought Washington within one run of tying the contest, 6-5; however, Adam LaRoche was retired on strikes and the game ended.

The Orioles’ Jason Hammel (5-1, 3.12) allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings to earn the win. Closer Jim Johnson earned his 15th save of the season.

Washington manager Davey Johnson shook up his regular lineup a bit to spark the offense and it responded, pounding out five runs and ten hits. Steve Lombardozzi was inserted in the leadoff spot and had two hits; Roger Bernandina batted eighth and had two hits as well; Ian Desmond batted fifth and had a hit.

With the Orioles already winning the interleague series by virtue of their win on Saturday, the Nationals will try to get back into the win column on Sunday afternoon.

Washington’s Stephen Strasburg will try to serve as the stopper on the mound. He goes against the surprising Taiwanese pitcher Wei-Yin Chen for the Baltimore Orioles.

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