Slow day on offense as Orioles lose to Nationals

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - After scoring 36 runs in a three-game stretch last Thursday through Saturday, the Orioles have been held to exactly three runs in each of the last three games.

Today they lost for the first time in a week, 5-3 to the Washington Nationals at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The Orioles did not score after the fourth inning and the last 10 batters were retired in order by Nats’ pitchers.

The last losses before today for the Orioles were a week ago in split-squad games by a combined 27-6 score to the Rays and Red Sox. They went 5-0-1 since then before losing to the defending World Series champions on a warm afternoon in West Palm.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the third against Washington starter Max Scherzer, who was making his second spring start. He fanned four Orioles in the first two innings in a 0-0 game. But in the O’s third, Hanser Alberto singled with one out and went to third on Anthony Santander’s double. He scored on a Chris Davis sac fly.

O’s starter Ty Blach held Washington off the board for two innings before the Nats scored five runs on five hits in the third to lead 5-1. The inning featured a two-run double by Juan Soto and RBI single from Howie Kendrick.

The first four Orioles reached in the fourth as they closed within 5-3. Pedro Severino tripled in a run and scored on a single by Mason Williams.

Iglesias-Throws-Warmups-ST-sidebar.jpgBut there was no further scoring in the game and the Orioles didn’t have a hit after the sixth inning. Williams went 2-for-3 and José Iglesias, who started at shortstop, went 3-for-3 with three singles to raise his average to .385.

Davis went 0-for-1 with a walk and sac fly. He is now 5-for-9 (.556) with three homers, seven RBIs and six walks in 17 plate appearances.

Scherzer (1-0) got the win, allowing two runs and five hits over 3 1/3 innings. Blach (0-1) took the loss as he gave up five runs over 2 1/3. Left-hander Sam Freeman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to post a save. Attendance was 3,753.

Orioles Rule 5 pick Michael Rucker pitched scoreless ball over the fourth and fifth innings and has now thrown five scoreless this spring. Cody Carroll put up another scoreless inning, his fourth of the spring. Miguel Castro pitched a scoreless seventh and Paul Fry did the same in the eighth.

The Orioles are 6-5-1 and the Nationals improved to 4-6-1. The Orioles will play the Marlins tomorrow at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium at 1:05 p.m. Lefty Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 0.00) faces lefty Caleb Smith. The game will be live on Orioles.com and MLB At-Bat at 1 p.m.

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