WASHINGTON – With Adam Jones at bat and the bases loaded in the seventh inning, the Nationals Park scoreboard flashed: “Let’s go Nats.” The majority of the sellout crowd of 42,181 responded with a hearty chant of “Let’s Go O’s.”
The Orioles were in the midst of a rally that could propel them out of their scoring drought, and a moment later, Jones delivered an RBI single.
A three-run seventh helped give the Orioles a 7-3 win on Monday night in a makeup of the game originally scheduled for July 8.
The Orioles (63-48) will go into Toronto on Tuesday with a four-game lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East.
It was a long day for manager Buck Showalter and a number of his players, who spent two hours visiting wounded members of the Armed Forces at Walter Reed Medical Center. By the time they get to their Toronto hotel, it may be four a.m. or later.
Showalter always notices Orioles fans on the road, and that energizes the team.
“We're seeing a lot more,” Showalter said. “We see it when we go to Toronto, different places, but especially here, and don't think our guys didn't hear it."
In the four games played between the regional rivals, the Orioles won three. In the last three seasons, the Orioles have won 10 of 14 games against Washington (60-50).
“It was a tough one, and then again tomorrow and the next day. These guys get to sleep around 5 or 6. There is not a peep out of them, complaint-wise. It's part of what we have to go through to get what we're trying to get done,” Showalter said.
Kevin Gausman (6-3) worked six innings for the win. He allowed three runs on eight hits.
“I definitely had to grind through that one,” Gausman said.
The Nationals took a 3-2 lead into the seventh, but J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty began the inning with doubles off Tanner Roark (11-7) and the score was tied at 3. Caleb Joseph bunted Flaherty to third and Delmon Young’s single to center scored Flaherty to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead.
Young, who batted for Gausman, is now 9-for-17 as a pinchhitter.
“It’s awesome, because if I went 0-for-17 I might not be here,” Young said.
Ross Detwiler relieved Roark and allowed a single to Nick Markakis. Manny Machado singled against Craig Stammen, and Jones excited the thousands of Orioles fans with a single to left to make it 5-3.
In the eighth, the Orioles added two more runs against Stammen. Chris Davis and Hardy began the inning with singles.
It was Hardy’s first four-hit game of the season. Both runners moved up on Wilson Ramos’ passed ball. With one out, Joseph singled to score two runs, and the Orioles led 7-3.
The Orioles had scored just six runs in the past four games and more than four in just two of the previous 20. It’s the pitching that’s been carrying them.
“If our offense can do what it did today with the way we have been pitching, we’re going to have a lot of fun the rest of the year,” Young said.
Brad Brach and Darren O’Day followed Gausman and didn’t allow a baserunner.
“Especially with what our offense just did. Kind of shut the door and not really give them even a chance,” Gausman said.
Ramos hit his fourth home run of the year to right field with two outs in the second Joseph responded with his fifth home run leading off the third to tie the score at 1.
Denard Span led off the third with a double and moved to third on Anthony Rendon’s single. Span scored on Jayson Werth’s sacrifice fly to center.
The Nationals took a 3-1 lead in the fourth. Bryce Harper walked and Asdrubal Cabrera singled him to third. Harper scored when Ramos hit into a double play.
Markakis’ 10th home run with two outs in the fifth cut Washington’s lead to 3-2.
After Gausman was pinch hit for, he heard the crowd.
“Oh, yeah. I noticed in the dugout. You know it’s weird cause O’s and Nats, O’s, Nats, kind of close. You definitely could tell it was more O’s than Nats, I thought,” Gausman said.
NOTES: Markakis now has nine seasons of 20 or more doubles and 10 or more home runs, tying him for fourth place with Brady Anderson.
-Nelson Cruz was 0-for-4, and is in a 1-for-32 slump.
-Former Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth was placed on the 15-day disabled list by Washington with inflammation in his right shoulder.
-The Orioles open a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday night. Bud Norris (8-7, 3.94) faces Mark Buehrle (11-7, 3.11).
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