Lyles provides length but lackluster offense leads to loss (updated)

The stomach bug that knocked down Jordan Lyles Sunday didn’t keep the veteran on his back. Lyles spoke with manager Brandon Hyde the following day, reporting that he felt much better, and showed up this morning ready to pitch.

Hyde could have given Lyles a little more recovery time, but he decided it would really benefit Tyler Wells to get an extra day of rest.

That’s how Hyde settled on the order of his rotation for the Nationals series, sending Lyles to the mound tonight with the Orioles trying to post their fifth win in seven games.

Lyles completed six innings for the first time in five starts and turned in 6 1/3 on 92 pitches. He surrendered only two runs, the offense produced fewer, and the Nationals won 3-0 before an announced crowd of 15,197 at Camden Yards.

The Orioles (30-39) failed again to creep within seven games of .500 for the first time since May 23.

Trey Mancini singled with one out in the first inning, his sore right hand unable to force his removal from the lineup after batting practice, and Nationals starter Erick Fedde didn’t permit another hit until Ryan Mountcastle lined a single into left field with two outs in the fourth.

Fedde left with two hits allowed over six innings. The Orioles didn’t get a runner to second base against him, but Adley Rutschman doubled off Kyle Finnegan with two outs in the seventh, the exit velocity of his line drive clocked at 106. 4 mph.

Rutschman has six doubles in his last 10 games.

"I thought Fedde threw the ball extremely well," Hyde said. "He really pitched to the edges well. We helped him out by chasing a little bit. But we just didn't square many balls up tonight. I think our at-bats for the most part these last few weeks have been really good. He threw a lot of pitches through six, but we just didn't have a whole lot of hard contact."

One of the highlights from Sunday’s 2-1 win was Hyde’s freedom to hold back Wells until Wednesday night. The Orioles are being careful with the former reliever’s innings and already planned to shorten him up against the Nationals.

They just won’t need to do it quite as much with Lyles staying ahead of him in the rotation.

Wells has registered back-to-back quality starts and thrown a combined 170 pitches. Hyde was going to cut him “way short” on regular rest but can offer a little more rope in the series finale.

Three of the first six batters doubled off Lyles, with Nelson Cruz driving in a two-out run in the first inning.

Lyles threw only nine pitches in the first and was behind 1-0.

The Nationals loaded the bases with no outs in a 25-pitch second and settled for one run. There should have been none.

Lane Thomas struck out and César Hernández hit a grounder to Rougned Odor for an anticipated double play, but Odor pulled Jorge Mateo off the bag and Hernández beat the throw to first.

A pop up and ground ball got Lyles back to the dugout with the score 2-0. He retired the side in order in the third, fourth and sixth, and stranded two runners in the fifth.

"We got the double-play ball, didn't turn, but after the second inning he was really good," Hyde said of Lyles. "Went into the seventh inning for us, kept us right there. We just didn't have any offense tonight to help him out."

Hyde praised the Orioles earlier in the day for making the routine plays. Odor failed on an easy ground ball, but he had a nice backhanded stop and leaping throw to get Josh Bell for the final out, Mountcastle made a diving catch to rob Keibert Ruiz and end the third and Austin Hays produced a sliding catch in left field to deny Maikel Franco and end the sixth.

Hays struck out four times.

Lyles retired nine in a row after Odor’s error, the streak ending with Juan Soto’s walk in the fifth. Bell singled, but a strikeout and ground ball ended the threat.

"I think he's been in that situation many times, a veteran, and pitched for a lot of years," Hyde said. "So, having traffic or maybe not having your best stuff early, trying to find it a little bit later, that's not abnormal for him or any pitcher who's been around for a while.

"He did a great job of finding it, getting a little sharper as the game went on, and went into the seventh."

The veteran right-hander retired 15 of his last 18 batters. He allowed two runs and five hits and lowered his ERA from 5.10 to 4.92.

"The final stat line was obviously better than the previous handful," Lyles said. "Came out of the gate a little shaky. They didn't rest the bat on their shoulders much to start the game. Couple bad pitches here and there, but I felt like we did a good job of staying in the game.

"Second inning, bases loaded, one of those situations could have gotten out of hand. We got the ground ball, we didn't finish the play and then we minimized the damage overall that inning and were able to settle down. Fortunate to get into the seventh for the guys out there, and hopefully continue to build on the last start or two."

Asked if he felt 100 percent after his virus, Lyles paused and said, "I felt good enough to go out there and pitch and came away with a quality start."

"Anytime you put on a uniform is a good time. Things that happened in the past, you don't really think about it. You're competing against a major league lineup on the other side, too many variables to think about, so I was fresh."

Lyles stayed home Sunday while teammates broke out their T-shirts with his face and the words "Best Dad Ever." A humorous nod to his leadership and the wisdom he provides.

"Tyler sent me a picture of the guys in them," he said. "It's just a joke. He tells me all the time I talk to him like his dad. Just away from the field stuff, life stuff. He refers to me jokingly as 'dad,' he kept saying it, and I said, 'All right, Father's Day is coming up. You better have something.' I thought it was cool. Unfortunately, I wasn't here to laugh with them. But they're a bunch of good young guys that I enjoy being around."

Keegan Akin retired the first seven batters he faced and Thomas’ fly ball with two outs in the ninth reached the flag court for a 3-0 lead.

Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk’s DL Hall was charged with two earned runs and five total in 4 1/3 innings, and he was stretched out to 92 pitches (48 strikes). Ryan Conroy let two inherited runners score.

Hall took a no-hitter into the fifth and Scott Kingery belted a leadoff home run. He allowed four hits, walked five batters and struck out three.

Kyle Stowers was hit by a pitch in the second inning, singled in the fourth and came out of the game for a pinch-runner.

Terrin Vavra had a two-run double, followed by Jordan Westburg’s three-run homer. Jonathan Araúz, in his first game since the Orioles claimed him off waivers, also had a two-run double.

Double-A Bowie’s Garrett Stallings allowed seven runs and nine hits in 1 1/3 innings in Erie.

Yusniel Diaz, on his injury rehab assignment with High-A Aberdeen, homered and went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a walk. Colton Cowser also had two hits, and Jean Pinto allowed one run in five relief innings.

Noelberth Romero and Wilkin Grullon homered for Single-A Delmarva.

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