BALTIMORE—Earlier on Friday night, the Orioles had completed their suspended game from five days before with a victory over the Washington Nationals and had their longest winning streak in nearly three years — six in a row.
They’d also swept consecutive road series for the first time in 15 years and were four games over .500. The losing pitcher in the suspended game, Stephen Strasburg, was set to the start the regularly scheduled game for the Nationals.
Shortly after the completion of the suspended game, which was the result of the inability of the Nationals’ grounds crew to cover the field with a tarp after a pop-up shower last Sunday, another rain event arrived, delaying Friday’s nightcap.
It wasn’t until just before 9, nearly two hours after the expected 6:59 p.m. start, that the Orioles and Nationals began their regularly scheduled game. It started well for the Orioles, with a first-inning home run by Anthony Santander. It did not go well after that as they played sloppily and were hit hard in a 15-3 loss to the Nationals.
Orioles starter Tommy Milone, who went six innings in an 11-0 win over Washington on August 7th, breezed through a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two. Strasburg, who had never pitched in Baltimore during the regular season, allowed the one-out home run to Santander, who produced his 20th RBI.
With two outs, Strasburg threw two balls to Rio Ruiz and was forced to leave the game after 16 pitches. He had missed the beginning of the season because of a nerve injury in his wrist, and last Sunday’s start was his first start of 2020.
Erick Fedde rescued the Nationals with 5 1/3 scoreless innings. His sinker kept getting hit to the Nationals’ Carter Kieboom, who had 11 assists, a team record for a third baseman.
The Nationals pecked away at Milone, who allowed nine hits in four innings and didn’t get strong support from his defense. The Nationals’ 19 hits and 15 runs were the most allowed by the Orioles (11-8) this season.
In the suspended game, Nationals second baseman Starlin Castro broke his wrist and was placed on the 10-day injured list. Castro was replaced on the active roster by 20-year-old prospect Luis Garcia, who reached on a fielder’s choice in the second. Kieboom singled, and Yan Gomes lined to right.
Santander made a miscalculation and tried to make a diving catch on a ball that landed in front of him and skipped by him for a two-run triple.
The Nationals scored three unearned runs off Milone in the third after a Hanser Alberto error on Asdrubal Cabrera’s grounder. Milone allowed two-out singles to Howie Kendrick, Garcia and Kieboom.
“I thought Tommy Milone threw the ball well,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I just didn’t think we played very well defensively behind him. Some soft singles, a double play ball that wasn’t turned. I thought he threw the ball excellent. He just didn’t get good results tonight, a lot of bad luck on his part.”
Cabrera’s sacrifice fly in the fourth scored Victor Robles and put the Nationals ahead, 6-1.
Milone allowed six runs, three unearned, on nine hits in four innings.
“The kind of pitcher I am, I want to induce. contact,” Milone said. “For the most part, I felt like I was making good pitches. They put the ball in play, on the ground, it found the holes.”
Fedde allowed just two hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t record a strikeout.
Keegan Akin, who had been recalled by the Orioles six days before but hadn’t pitched, finally made his major league debut in the fifth, retiring Washington in order. After a scoreless sixth, Cabrera homered to start the seventh.
Akin was removed two batters into a six-run eighth after he hit Kieboom and Gomes doubled.
“I think I got one relief appearance in the past eight years,” Akin said. “Actually, I think that helped. I was kind of clueless going in. I just took a deep breath and said, ‘you got this,’ and that was it.”
Akin said he had been nervous last weekend in Washington when he waited and didn’t get in a game. He also didn’t pitch in the Orioles’ three wins in Philadelphia.
“After that, the nerves wore off, and the anxiety kicked in, the anticipation. It’s always fun to get the first one out of the way,” Akin said. “It was fun.”
After the game, Akin was optioned to the Bowie alternate site.
Cody Carroll, who was added as the 29th man for the game, gave up four runs on five hits in the eighth.
Carroll allowed two runs in the ninth and, after he had thrown 42 pitches, Hyde brought in third-string catcher Bryan Holaday, who had also pitched for Boston, Texas and Miami. Holaday allowed two singles but finally got out of the inning.
Notes: The Orioles’ six-game winning streak had been their longest since August 22-28, 2017 … The five rain delays this season total eight hours, 21 minutes … Carroll was returned to Bowie after the game.