The Washington Nationals came back from a two-run deficit to carry Game 1 of the Battle of the Beltway to extras, but Chris Davis sparked a six-run 11th to help the Baltimore Orioles to an 8-2 win.
Stephen Strasburg was solid through seven innings, allowing just two runs on four hits and no walks, while striking out nine. He was nearly matched by Baltimore right-hander Chris Tillman, who gave up just two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out six.
In the end, it was the often-reliable Craig Stammen who lost control of the game in the 11th in what amounted to one of his worst outings of the season.
To get to that point, the Orioles drove in their first two runs in in the fourth after Manny Machado singled and Nelson Cruz hammered his 28th homer of the season to make it 2-0 Baltimore with Strasburg on the mound.
The Nats answered in the sixth in a similar fashion after Denard Span led off with a single and Anthony Rendon homered – his 13th of the season.
From there, both bullpens held it together, giving up few opportunities for either squad.
Washington had a chance to walk off in the ninth after Ryan Zimmerman hit a one-out double and Orioles’ pitcher Darren O’Day intentionally walked Harper. But, O’Day forced both Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos to chase strike three to end the inning.
With two outs in the 10th, the Orioles had an opportunity to tally runs against Drew Storen. Both Nick Markakis and Machado singled, but Adam Jones ended the chance with a pop-out for out number three.
In the bottom of the inning, the Nats managed just a single from Rendon off T.J. McFarland.
In the 11th, the Orioles had much better luck against Stammen.
Cruz led off with a single before Chris Davis homered to make it 4-2 Orioles. J.J. Hardy hit a solo shot to left to make it 5-2 before Nick Hundley singled to keep Stammen from recording an out.
At last, Jonathan Schoop struck out – on three pitches, no less – to give Stammen out number one, but Hundley advanced to second when the next batter, T.J. McFarland, laid down a sacrifice bunt.
Markakis then doubled home Hundley to make it 6-2 Orioles before the Nats called on Aaron Barrett to replace Stammen.
But, that didn’t stop the bleeding immediately.
Instead, Machado looped his eighth homer of the season to give the Orioles an 8-2 lead, which the Nats failed to touch in the bottom of the inning.
With the loss, the Nats are now 2-8 in extra-inning games this season.