WASHINGTON—Asher Wojciechowski’s horrid first inning set the tone for a frustrating evening for the Orioles. Wojciechowski was battered for five runs, and the Orioles couldn’t recover and lost the finale of the 2019 Beltway Series to the Washington Nationals, 8-4, on Wednesday night.
The game also featured the team’s second dugout flare-up of the month. Reliever Richard Bleier had a heated exchange with third base coach Jose Flores, who is in charge of positioning infielders, in the dugout in the fifth. Earlier in the month, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had to be restrained from going after manager Brandon Hyde after a dugout argument.
Bleier replaced Wojciechowski in the fifth and gave up four straight hits and three runs. “I just gave up a couple of hits there and didn’t quite make pitches when I needed to,” Bleier said. “Things just didn’t work out.”
Bleier appeared to say something that drew Flores’ ire as he reached the dugout. Teammates stepped between the two.
“I think I just let frustration kind of [boil] over, some stuff that … some balls that I thought maybe … defensive positioning, I guess, and I … probably could have done better for myself to keep my mouth shut and, unfortunately, I may have said something, and you guys saw the rest.”
Bleier regretted the outburst.
“Yeah, for sure,” Bleier said. “Yeah, I mean I think that we’re all adults. It’s not like I’m mad at anybody. Right now, we’re not thrilled with each other, maybe, but I’m sure we can move past this and get back to a healthy relationship.”
The night got off to a bad start for the Orioles.
Wojciechowski began the first by striking out Trea Turner. He then hit Adam Eaton with a pitch. Eaton pulled up as he took third on Anthony Rendon’s double and was removed for pinch-runner Gerardo Parra.
Juan Soto’s triple, which was misplayed by centerfielder Anthony Santander, scored Parra and Rendon. Asdrubal Cabrera’s single brought in Soto.
Kurt Suzuki’s two-run home run put Washington ahead, 5-0.
“It’s that first inning,” Wojciechowski said. “I had good warmups in the bullpen and then came out there and just a little out of whack. Getting too (much) rotation on my fastball, yanking some pitches and then trying to correct and just really missing middle-middle with a lot of pitches.
“It is a frustrating first inning, but I was able to settle down after that and make some pitches the second, third and fourth inning. But still, that first inning, giving up five like that, really puts us in a hole.”
Max Scherzer struck out five of the first nine Orioles, and allowed a two-out single to Jonathan Villar in the third. Villar stole second, his 29th, and scored on Santander’s double.
Chance Sisco homered to lead off the fifth, his seventh and first since July 7. With one out, Villar and Santander reached on infield singles, and Scherzer was removed after 89 pitches.
Trey Mancini represented the tying run but hit into a double play started by Rendon, and the Orioles trailed, 5-2.
“We just had two bad innings,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “A 5-spot and a 3-spot. We battled back again and gave ourselves a chance. They played really good defense. That play that Rendon made in a big spot, that kind of changes the game right there. They made the plays defensively, and we just gave up too many runs.”
Scherzer was making his second start since returning from the 10-day injured list with a back strain.
“Anytime you have a great pitcher like him on the other side, it’s definitely not what you want to do is put your team in a 5-0 hole in the first inning,” Wojciechowski said. “But we battled back and fought and clawed, but I’ve got to be better than that in the first inning. I’ve got to go deeper in games and just execute pitches from pitch No. 1 and continue to execute pitches throughout the game.”
Wojciechowski, who hasn’t won in six starts, was removed after four.
Chris Davis hit his 10th home run in the sixth, a two-run shot off Tanner Rainey. He became the ninth Oriole to hit 10 or more this season, and cut Washington’s lead to to 8-4.
The Orioles had first and third in the seventh, but DJ Stewart’s strikeout ended the inning.
Fernando Rodney and Daniel Hudson retired the last six Orioles, whose record is 44-89.
The Orioles’ three-game winning streak ended, one shy of their season-high, and they managed to split the four games against the Nationals in 2019.
Trumbo heating up: Mark Trumbo hit his second home run in as many nights as Norfolk lost to Gwinnett, 14-8. Trumbo is hoping to play when the rosters expand on Sunday.