WASHINGTON—Kyle Bradish made a brilliant return to the starting rotation, though the Orioles could have suffered an important loss when Jorge Mateo left the game with right hip discomfort.
After the game, manager Brandon Hyde said Mateo’s injury was day-to-day and the shortstop walked out of the clubhouse unaided while Hyde was addressing the media.
Bradish, who was hit by a line drive on his right foot in the second inning on April 3rd at Texas, returned from the 15-day injured list to pitch six scoreless innings, allowing five hits in the Orioles’ 4-0 win over the Washington Nationals before an announced crowd of 22,598 on Wednesday night.
It was the Orioles’ second straight shutout, and they haven’t allowed a run for 26 straight innings.
“Any time pitching’s dominating the game, it’s a lot of fun to play behind,” second baseman Adam Frazier said. “You’re glad they’re on your side. They give you a chance to win every night. They’ve been very impressive the last few days.”
The Orioles (11-7) have won three straight for the first time this season. They’ve also won seven of nine.
“We pitched extremely well this series,” Hyde said. “You saw what we could be, [Dean] Kremer, Bradish, what they did the last couple of games. Fun to watch young guys coming into their own. They both have great stuff. Two really well-pitched games.”
Mateo left the game after running slowly to first base for the third out of the second inning. Hyde said the injury might have occurred after Mateo left the batter’s box. He wasn’t planning on a roster move.
“The offday plays in our favor [on Thursday], and then we’ll go from there,” Hyde said. “These things happen. You play every day for six months, you’re going to have little things, here and there. Hopefully, they’re little things. Guys have to be ready. Frazier’s a pro and he was ready. That’s not going to be the last time that happens.
“It’s not easy to play every day, and these guys are doing a great job and I’m really happy with our effort.”
Bradish (1-0) struck out six and walked one. He allowed one-out singles to Kelbert Ruiz and Stone Garrett in the second before CJ Abrams bounced into a double play.
“The biggest thing was being back out there,” Bradish said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Bradish threw only 28 pitches before he was hurt in Texas.
“It was a real bummer just because I felt so good coming into spring training and out of spring training,” Bradish said. “I felt so good and then having that fluke accident happen. Wasn’t great, but we got through it, and we’re back.”
He felt as if this were his first start of the season.
“The Texas outing felt like it didn’t happen besides the foot,” Bradish said. “It didn’t really feel like I was out there. This definitely feels like the first outing of the year.”
Joey Meneses doubled with one out in the sixth, and Ruiz hit a long drive to center that Cedric Mullins tracked down for the third out.
In the top of the third, catcher James McCann, who singled, scored on a bases-loaded walk by designated hitter Adley Rutschman against Nationals starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore (2-1).
Frazier, who replaced Mateo in the lineup, hit a two-run home run in the fourth to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
The loss of Mateo would be difficult for the Orioles. Mateo is hitting .362 with eight stolen bases in nine attempts and playing an excellent shortstop. In his previous four games, Mateo had been 7-for-11.
“Hopefully, Jorge is all right. He’s made a big impact on the team the past few weeks,” Frazier said.
The Orioles stopped hitting after Frazier’s home run. Washington (5-13) pitchers retired 16 straight Baltimore batters until Ramón Urías reached on an error by Abrams at short with two outs in the ninth.
After Frazier walked, an RBI single by Gunnar Henderson stretched the lead to 4-0.
Bryan Baker relieved Bradish in the seventh and retired three straight hitters. Cionel Pérez walked two hitters and recorded an out. Yennier Cano retired the two batters he faced, ending the eighth. Cano has retired each of the 12 hitters he has faced since his Friday recall. Mike Baumann pitched a scoreless ninth.
“We have a lot of really good arms on this team,” Bradish said. “And everyone’s putting it together. Going forward you’re going to see a lot more of this.”
Frazier saw the Orioles’ young pitchers with Seattle last season and was impressed.
“It was like, ‘Whoa, where did all these guys come from?’ I knew we had some talent,” he said. “A lot of them are breaking the surface on what they can do, learn how to pitch. They obviously have the stuff, and they’re adding the pitching factor into it. They’re going to continue to get better.”
Note: After an offday on Thursday, the Orioles play the Detroit Tigers in a three-game series at Camden Yards. Tyler Wells (0-1, 3.86) will face Michael Lorenzen (0-0, 13.50) on Friday night.
Minor league update: Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Hudson Haskin was placed on the injured list on Tuesday because of a strained left hamstring.
Spenser Watkins (2-1) allowed three runs on two hits in three innings as Norfolk lost to Rochester, 5-0. Shortstop Joey Ortiz, who could replace Mateo on the roster if he needs to go on the 10-day injured list, had three hits.
First baseman Ryan Higgins hit a three-run home run in High-A Aberdeen’s 9-5 loss to Jersey Shore.