The Baltimore Orioles gave Bruce Zimmerman the lead before he even took the mound at Nationals Park in Washington, DC this afternoon. And a big lead at that – 5-0. However you could almost see Zimmerman and his teammates playing not to lose even at that point. Zimmerman’s line: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
I shouldn’t say not to lose. Oriole bats did come alive to a degree today. But while five runs in the first inning are a lot, the issue is there’s still a lot of baseball to be played. Freddy Galvis’ RBI-double would give the O’s a 1-0 lead. As the inning progressed they would eventually load the bases, and Ryan Mountcastle’s grand slam made it 5-0.
Again however, there was still a lot of innings left. And when you have a tired bullpen like the Orioles do, that could be a huge problem. Washington would put a run across on a force out by Gomes in the second. And the Birds actually were able to extend their lead to 6-1 on an RBI-single by Pedro Severino.
But Washington’s lineup was unimpressed with the Orioles and Ryan Mouncastle’s grand slam. Harrison smacked one of his own in the last of the third. That cut the Orioles’ lead to 6-5. In the third inning.
One inning later Turner’s RBI-single tied the game at six, and Zimmerman’s three-run homer gave Washington a 9-6 lead. Those runs weren’t charged to Bruce Zimmerman of course, as he was long gone. But it’s really amazing at how quickly this got away from the O’s. It‘s almost as if Washington was offended at the Birds taking the early lead.
The O’s would get one back on a solo homer in the fifth by Anthony Santander. However Washington would piecemeal a few additional runs together before the game ended. A sac fly-RBI by Castro and an RBI-single by Schwarber in the sixth. They would also get a 12th run on an error by Franco at third base. The O’s threatened in the eighth and netted two on a two-RBI double by Pat Valaika, but they were unable to get closer than 12-9.
Washington took advantage of every opportunity the Orioles gave them. From the grand slam, to scoring on that error. Ironically however, the Orioles took advantage of their chances also. They just had fewer of them. That’s something that needs to change if the O’s are going to win games. Close games, that is.