With the Nationals’ season hanging in the balance, Washington came to visit the Orioles for a critical three games to see what direction they would be heading towards.
Sitting on the fence of buying for a playoff run or selling playoff pieces to rebuild is where the Nationals were at heading into this series. After a clean three-game sweep, the Orioles more or less had their Robert Andino moment and sent the Nationals into selling mode. Also, this was the Orioles’ first home sweep since they swept the Rays back in August of 2020!
The pitching in this series was fantastic. The starters allowed just 10 hits and five runs total runs. Matt Harvey tossed his second straight scoreless appearance, and John Means looked to be back as the “Businessman”. On the offensive side, we saw great production from Pat Valaika, as well as some clutch hitting from Ryan McKenna and Ramón Urías!
Here is a breakdown of what happened this series!
Game one featured a good pitching matchup, Jorge López vs Patrick Corbin. Both teams pitched well, netting just 11 hits between the two teams. However, it was the Orioles who came up with the clutch hitting to win this game.
The Nats jumped in front in the fourth. Josh Bell solo homered off López, the only run he allowed all day. The Nationals would not see the lead again in this game.
To answer the home run, Cedric Mullins doubled and was brought home on the next at-bat by an Austin Hays double. This tied the game at one. Ramón Urías later in the inning added one more, bringing home Hays on a single. The Birds now led 2-1!
In the fifth, Pat Valaika showed why he loved hitting left-handed pitchers. He went yard off Corbin on an off-speed pitch below the zone. This solo shot extended the Oriole lead to 3-1! Pat > Patrick
The Birds put two more runs up in the sixth from a Urías fielder’s choice and a Pedro Severino sac fly. Then in the seventh, Pat “The Bat” Valaika got another chance, this time against a right-handed pitcher.
Valaika sent another one into the seats, his second solo home run on the day. This shot ended the scoring and put the Orioles ahead 6-1!
The bullpen was fantastic as well, with Paul Fry, Cole Sulser, Tanner Scott, and Dillon Tate combining for 4.1 innings, with no runs allowed and just one hit given up. Paul Fry earned the win for his effort and moved to 4-3.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Pat Valaika! Valaika earns his first POTG award with his two home run night! Way to go, Patty V!
Game two of this series was simply beautiful. It felt like a throwback to 2015, watching both Matt Harvey and Jon Lester deal. But in this one, it would be Harvey who would have the last laugh!
Here at The Baltimore Battery, we always say early run support is vital. Trey Mancini agreed with us! He sent his 17th home run out of the park in the first inning, a solo shot to put the Orioles and Harvey up 1-0!
Ryan Mountcastle noticed Mancini extending his team home run lead, so he sent a ball out of the park himself! Good for his 16th on the year, his solo fourth inning blast put the Birds up 2-0!
Through the first six innings, Harvey was absolutely lights out. The only hit he gave up came in the fourth on a Trea Turner double. If that is the only damage you let up, that is a great outing!
The Orioles put Harvey in a position to win in their half of the sixth. Once again, Mullins doubled and was brought home by a Hays double. Sound familiar? This was the third straight game Cedric and Austin doubled in back-to-back at-bats. Talk about a one-two punch!
Still in the sixth, Severino added his second RBI of the series on a single, and Maikel Franco followed that with a sac fly. This gave the Orioles a 5-0 lead!
Things got a little too interesting in this one after Harvey left the mound. In the seventh, Juan Soto cut the deficit to 5-1 with a solo home run. Then in the eighth, Trea Turner singled home two more to make it a 5-3 game.
Now in a save situation, Dillon Tate came on in the ninth in front of the largest crowd OPACY has seen since 2019. In front of some 31,000 people, Tate got all three outs, and the crowd went nuts! This was Tate’s second save in the year, and it helped save Harvey’s fifth win!
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Matt Harvey! This was his second scoreless appearance since the All-Star Break. Giving up just one hit against one of the better offenses in the league is quite impressive! “The Dark Knight” rose to the occasion!
With a chance for a series sweep, John Means returned to the mound for just the second time since his return from injury. Besides one bad inning, Means was absolutely dealing in this game. A very good sign for things to come!
The scoring started early in this one. Means got into a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the first. However, he was able to escape with just one run allowed.
In the bottom half of the first, Mancini did it again! He absolutely annihilated this ball and sent it 455 feet into the left field concourse! This Home Run Derby swing tied this game at one a piece!
The Birds came back with another long ball in the second, this one from Franco to go up 2-1! It was his first since his return from the I.L., and, hopefully, it means a hot streak for the third baseman.
We have a first career home run! Up 2-1 in the fourth, Ryan McKenna sent a high fastball over the wall in center field! Finally, we got to see some of that power he showcased in Norfolk, and it came at a perfect time. This solo shot extended the lead to 3-1!
Means ran into trouble in the sixth. Just like the first inning, he hit a batter and then allowed a single to Trea Turner. “Mr. National”, Ryan Zimmerman, then gave the Nats a 4-3 lead with his three-run homer.
Now in the ninth still down 4-3, the Orioles had some work to do. After Brad Hand loaded the bases with no outs, Pat Valaika come through yet again, this time a sacrifice fly that tied the game up at four!
Enter Ramón Urías to pinch hit for Austin Wynns. McKenna and his plus speed were on third. Urías hit a weak ground ball to third, and, in great base running fashion, McKenna stormed home and beat the throw! An amazing act of base running earned the Orioles the 5-4 walk-off win! What an O’mazing way to end this series!
Cole Sulser earned the win, as the bullpen tossed another combined scoreless outing! Sulser now moves to 3-1 on the year.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Ryan McKenna! McKenna’s first career home run turned out to be very clutch, and his great base running put this one away for the Orioles in walk-off fashion!
How do you feel about this series sweep? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our podcast, The Walk-Off, on YouTube and Spotify! And, make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!