Soto Leads Nationals Over O’s

Juan Soto has been a revelation to the Nationals. With runners on first and third and no outs Anthony Rendon had just struck out. The previous inning the Nationals had a runner on third with no out and could not score. National fans were getting a little anxious as they faced another opportunity wasted. Soto took the next pitch for a strike. The second pitch he drove into left centerfield for a two run double, scoring Bryce Harper and Trea Turner to give the Nationals a 4-2 lead. Without Soto providing some clutch hits to this injury marred lineup the Nationals would be a non-contender. Sean Doolittle came on to pitch the ninth and retired the Orioles in order.

Max Scherzer got the start for the Nationals. In the second inning Colby Rasmus carried him deep into centerfield to give the Orioles an early 1-0 lead. Scherzer got some swings and misses, striking out nine in seven innings of work, but he had a number of balls hit hard against him. One nice thing about Scherzer. When he pitches games are usually less than three hours.

The Nationals were able to tie the game off Kevin Gausman in the bottom of the third. Wilmer Difo started the inning lining a single into left field. Pedro Severino has been showing a quiet bat this year, but he lined a double into the left field corner to advance Difo to third. After a Max Scherzer strike out Bryce Harper poked one far enough into left field to score Difo with the tying run.

Scherzer has been a little prone to the homerun ball. Trumbo reminded him of that fact in the fourth when he took him deep into the right centerfield bleachers to lead off the fourth inning. He smoked the first pitch thrown by Scherzer.

Gausman was aided by a couple double play balls, but in the sixth he had come close to 100 pitches. Anthony Rendon led off the sixth and smoked a 1-2 slider into the Brew House in centerfield to tie the game at 2-2. Gausmann would retire the next three hitters and did not come out for the seventh.

Other than the two solo shots the Orioles could not mount much of an offense. Kelvin Herrera retired them in order in the eighth and Doolittle retired them in order in the ninth.

Game Notes: Chris Davis has been absent from the lineup. Myworld does not even see him in the dugout. In the seventh inning the Orioles chose to pinch hit Danny Valencia for the pitcher with a runner on first and two out. Valencia struck out. Reports have him working with Brady Anderson on his swing. He will be available for the next series…Jonathan Schoop is another player who is underperforming. His average dropped to .209 after an 0 for 4 day…Bryce Harper had his average drop to .209 entering this game. His slump had extended to 2 for 32 in his last nine games. A double in the sixth, in addition to two walks and a sacrifice fly raised it back to .213. His drop in offense will lose him $10 million or so a year in salary…Steve Wilkerson made his Oriole starting debut at third base. He made a stellar defensive play, diving for a ball and throwing Michael Taylor out. Offensively he went 0 for 2 with a walk…Max Scherzer threw a wild pitch that dropped 10 feet in front of home and two feet outside the plate…The Nationals will play the Phillies this weekend. The Orioles will travel to Atlanta to play the Braves.

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