Orioles get to Gonzalez early with long ball (Nats fall 4-3)

The Orioles scored a run in the first inning for the second straight game and they did it in a very familiar way.

With one out in the first, Steve Pearce slammed a 2-0 Gio Gonzalez offering over the left field wall and the Orioles led 1-0. It was a 91 mph four-seam fastball. Gonzalez was able to get the next two batters out.

The run ended Gonzalez’s scoreless streak at 22 1/3 innings.

Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen was able to get to the Nationals 1-2-3 in each of the first two innings. He struck out Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper to end those innings.

Update: Chen has allowed only a Wilson Ramos single through three innings. The Orioles, however, are seeing Gonzalez pretty well so far.

In the third with two outs, Nick Markakis walked. Pearce singled to put two men on. Adam Jones then perfectly placed a long bloop double down the right field line to score a run and the Orioles led 2-0.

Nelson Cruz then added a base hit to make it 3-0 Orioles. On the play, Ian Desmond threw wildly to third to try to catch Jones. The ball sailed over the head of third baseman Anthony Rendon for an error, and Jones trotted in for a 4-0 Orioles advantage. A stunning inning because it seemed to happen so fast. Just like that, the Orioles had three more runs and a big lead.

Desmond’s error was the first Nationals error in 14 games.

Update II: The Nationals got something going in the fourth, and a video replay review helped accelerate the process.

With one out, Anthony Rendon singled. Jayson Werth struck out. Then during Adam LaRoche’s at-bat, an inside pitch close to LaRoche’s jersey was called a ball.

Manager Matt Williams requested a video replay review to see if the pitch had hit LaRoche or grazed his jersey. The video replay confirmed the latter. The delay took 58 seconds. LaRoche took first base.

Ryan Zimmerman laced a clean single on the next pitch to score Rendon and the Orioles led 4-1.

With men on second and third, Harper was rung up by home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor on a pitch down in the zone. That ended the inning.

Update III: Werth got the Nationals sixth inning going with a solo homer over the left field wall. It was Werth’s 10th homer of the season and second of the series. Ryan Zimmerman later delivered a ground rule double. Desmond added a run-scoring double to cut the Orioles’ advantage to 4-3.

Chen was lifted. Wilson Ramos grounded out to end the inning.

Through six, it’s Orioles 4, Nationals 3.

Update IV: The Nationals had a pretty good opportunity against submariner Darren O’Day in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs. LaRoche doubled, Bryce Harper was intentionally walked and Desmond was hit by a pitch. But O’Day got Ramos to fly out to center field to end the threat. The Orioles still lead 4-3.

Update V: The Nationals got an infield hit from Rendon in the ninth but nothing else against Zach Britton and fall 4-3.

Gio Gonzalez is now 6-5 with the loss.

Desmond left the game after eight innings, after being struck on the right hand by an O’Day pitch. Desmond stayed in the game and ran the bases, but was removed after sailing a warmup throw between innings over the head of LaRoche at first base.

Update: Manager Matt Williams said X-rays on Desmond’s hand were negative.

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