Orioles bullpen provides boost in rain-delayed victory (updated)

WASHINGTON - Manny Machado inadvertently became tonight’s symbol for the Orioles’ 2018 season while planted face-down in the infield dirt at Nationals Park.

Anthony Rendon accidently delivered an elbow squarely to Machado’s nose while coming out of his slide on a 3-6 double play that ended the first inning. Machado slowly rose to his feet, concerned teammates gathering around him, and stayed in the game. But it was a painful blow, a direct hit that the club figuratively has taken on a loop.

machado-tags-rendon-sidebar.jpgMachado got back up. The Orioles are scrambling to do the same, and they found their footing tonight despite the sloppy conditions.

Mark Trumbo hit a two-run homer off Nats left-hander Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Cashner tossed four scoreless innings before another storm interrupted play and the Orioles leaned on their bullpen to win 3-0 for their second victory in the last three games.

Miguel Castro tossed two scoreless innings after replacing Cashner, and the Orioles improved to 21-51 overall and 10-28 on the road. They were the only team in the majors that hadn’t reached double digits in road wins.

Darren O’Day retired the side in order with two strikeouts in the seventh in his first appearance since Friday. Zach Britton struck out two and stranded a runner in the eighth and retired Bryce Harper on a liner to first base in the ninth before Brad Brach recorded the last two outs.

Brach allowed the bullpen’s only two hits and walked a batter, but he struck out Mark Reynolds to wiggle out of the jam.

Steve Wilkerson made his major league debut by playing third base as part of another double switch in the ninth inning.

The tarp was unrolled after Cashner stranded Rendon in the fourth inning following a one-out double that stopped a streak of eight consecutive batters retired. A line drive and ground ball enabled Cashner to maintain a 2-0 lead.

Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley in the sixth, moved up on Machado’s 375-foot fly ball to center field and scored on Danny Valencia’s 387-foot drive to center for a 3-0 lead. Jones is batting .349 this month.

Trumbo sent a Gonzalez curveball 427 feet to left field in the second inning for his fifth home run after Jonathan Schoop reached on a bunt hit.

It was the most solid contact that didn’t involve Machado’s face.

Rendon and Machado hugged in the fourth inning after the third baseman’s double. Machado was shifting to the right side against Daniel Murphy and patted Rendon on the chest to initiate a quick embrace. A hard hit, but no hard feelings.

It had to sting Cashner to sit through a delay of two hours and 43 minutes after blanking the Nats on three hits with no walks in four innings. He threw 62 pitches, compared to 49 from Gonzalez, but he held a lead.

Cashner also worked only four innings on April 28 against the Tigers, but he allowed six earned runs and seven total in a 9-5 loss.

Manager Buck Showalter let Cashner bat in the fifth before bringing in Castro. Cashner struck out, but he took a mighty hack.

The Orioles took their first game against the Nats this season after four defeats.

Update: The Orioles might bring up a fresh arm for Thursday. It’s worth noting that Triple-A Norfolk’s Jimmy Yacabonis is scheduled to start, so he’d be available.

Showalter on outcome: “Good night for us tonight. We got Zach two ups, we got Darren out there and he showed to be healthy and we won. So a lot of good things happened tonight.”

Showalter on delay: “There was that infamous window that was coming out of New York. It’s supposed to rain here in a little while. But it’s another rule that should be changed. Cashner should get the win. ... Obviously, I thought Castro was key, too.”

Showalter on Cashner: “Good. There was probably a little apprehension early on, even when he warmed up. That extra intensity in a game, but I thought he filled out the bottom of the zone and competed. He’s most upset about his at-bats. I told him he was out of the game and he was upset, then I told him he was going to hit and he was happy again.”

Showalter on difficulty of delay: “The other thing is, we’re so much out of routine with no BP. They hit and then they banged our bullpen, which happens. We’ve had it happen at home. So, there’s a lot of sitting around. It takes a lot of discipline and a lot of communication back and forth. That it’s not going to happen in the next 20 minutes so they can kind of take some time down. You try to give them some idea of when it might be.

“You try not to spring something on, when you talk to Castro. Roger (McDowell) starts the stopwatch as soon as Cashner throws the last pitch so you’ve got an idea of how long it was going to be. It takes a lot of discipline and communication on our part to let them know what’s going on. It’s the unknown that drives you crazy.”

Showalter on importance of early lead: “It’s tough. It’s easy for me to say now. It’s tough to get in the flow of a long inning. Brad was the last guy I wanted to pitch tonight. I doubled up in case he threw, like, 12 pitches and he would have to continue. I’ve got a headache right now from that game. I had too much time to think during the rain delay.”

Showalter on O’Day: “Good, good. That was encouraging. We’ll see how he feels in the morning. They did a lot of work today. I think he’s got a little brace just to be on the safe side. I’m hoping we dodged it. With (Max) Scherzer tomorrow, you kind of go for it. I know it’s a comfort for them to know he’s out there tomorrow with the type of game we had tonight.”

Showalter on needing reliever: “I was talking to Dan during the rain delay, so I know it’s something he was looking at and I’m sure we’re going to reconvene here shortly. So, possibility.”

Cashner on outing: “I had a good feel. I’d really been working on my curveball, some adjustments I’m making with it. I thought it was a lot better, depth-wise. Fastball, both sides of the plate, and I kept my off-speed in the zone.”

Cashner on back: “It felt fine. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but I was really pleased where I was at.”

Cashner on waiting: “I was throwing, every 30 minutes I was throwing off the mound downstairs. I was ready to go, but I think it went too long.”

Trumbo on getting early runs with rain coming: “It was nice. I’m glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash, but it ended up being pretty big for us.”

Trumbo on staying ready: “Being in the area we are in the country, you get used to it. But it’s never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark. It’s kind of hard. Then you have to restart. It’s almost two games in one. Great job by our guys tonight.”

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