Nats fall behind before rain strikes in fourth (lose 3-0)

With a major line of storms approaching from the west, the Nationals and Orioles got underway on time tonight, both clubs fully aware the odds of nine innings being played before the rain hit were dubious.

And so this may have become a race to get five innings in, ensuring this would be an official game in the event it could not be continued. Which made Mark Trumbo’s second-inning blast all the more significant for the Orioles.

Gonzalez-Delivers-White-Side-Sidebar.jpgTrumbo’s two-run homer off Gio Gonzalez gave Baltimore a quick 2-0 lead, but even with both teams’ starting pitchers otherwise cruising along, they could not complete enough innings before the heavens opened.

Thus, tonight’s game is now in a rain delay, with the Nationals still trailing 2-0 after four innings. They’ll have to wait this out and hope to resume later tonight.

Gonzalez pitched well, aside from one short burst in the top of the second. Jonathan Schoop led off with a bunt single. Moments later, Gonzalez hung a 1-0 curveball to Trumbo, who sent it soaring to left field for his fifth homer of the season.

That’s all the Orioles managed against the Nats lefty, but Andrew Cashner was even more effective in tossing four consecutive zeroes to begin this game.

The Nationals had a golden opportunity to score first when Juan Soto doubled and Anthony Rendon followed with a single. But Bryce Harper, still trying to break out of his prolonged slump, grounded to first base, and Trumbo stepped on the bag and threw to second in time to get Rendon before Soto could cross the plate, ending the inning with a zero on the scoreboard.

The Nats have managed only one other baserunner vs. Cashner since, on Rendon’s double with one out in the fourth. They couldn’t advance him any farther.

Update: They’re going to resume this game at 10:50 p.m. There aren’t going to be many fans left in the park.

Update II: Shawn Kelley took over for the top of the fifth and struck out the side. Then he got a chance for the second at-bat of his career, and just as he did in the first one, he struck out. When he took the mound again for the sixth, Kelley served up three straight long fly balls to the warning. The first got over Soto’s head for a double. The next two were caught by Harper at the warning track, allowing a run to score. So the Nats now trail 3-0.

Update III: Well, that’s it. Nats lose 3-0. They didn’t even manage to record a hit after the resumption of play in the fifth inning until the bottom of the ninth. They’ll hope for better results later tonight when Max Scherzer takes the mound in the rubber game of the series.

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