BALTIMORE – It is happening slowly, but the Baltimore Orioles are playing better baseball.
After the Toronto Blue Jays nailed them in the first two games of their weekend series, Baltimore bounced back to win the last two contests, giving it a split of the series. That gave the Orioles a win or split in their last three series.
They closed out the Blue Jays’ series with a 6-5 victory on Aug. 4. Right fielder Trey Mancini’s two-run double in a three-run second inning gave the Orioles a 4-1 lead. They stretched it to 6-2 before the Blue Jays scored three runs in the seventh inning.
Rookie Dillon Tate – who pitched for Double-A Bowie all season – gave up one of the runs but got the final two batters to let Baltimore hold on to a 6-5 lead that proved to be the final score. Even though the Orioles optioned Tate to Triple-A Norfolk later that day, Manager Brandon Hyde said he liked what Tate showed them in a few appearances.
Mancini had 11 RBI in his last seven games, and outfielder Anthony Santander keeps making plays on offense and defense. He threw out a runner at third in the first for the back end of a double play that also prevented a run from scoring as it was the third out of the inning and came before the runner crossed the plate.
“I think you saw a bunch of guys without a whole lot of experience pitch for us today and to be able to hold on and get a series split,” Hyde said. “We pieced it together and found a way.”
Nationals Trying To Rebound
The Washington Nationals lost only one of 17 series from late May until late July. But since then, things have changed.
The Nats dropped three straight series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks, the latter coming this past weekend. Washington had a chance to take two of three versus the Diamondbacks but Arizona pulled out a 7-5 victory on Aug. 4 to win the series.
Still, Manager Davey Martinez told the media after the game that he was optimistic about his team’s chances of bouncing back in the final stretch of the season.
“We’ll get it back together,” he said. “We’re battling back. We’re swinging. We just need to get more consistent.”
In a tied game in the seventh inning, former Baltimore Oriole Adam Jones connected two-run single off Wander Suero to give the D-backs the win.
Washington is looking to get everything together, especially its bullpen while trying to make a late-season playoff drive.
Tiafoe falls in the Citi Open
Local tennis player Frances Tiafoe was seeded 16th overall and won his first match at last week’s Citi Open in Washington, D.C. before losing to No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in straight sets.
Tiafoe got a first-round bye before beating Alexander Bublik 6-1, 7-6 (5) in the second round. After that came Medvedev’s 6-2, 7-5 victory over Tiafoe.
Tiafoe had said before the tournament that he was excited to have a chance to play in this competition because the field was so good.
“There’s a ton of great players playing this week,” Tiafoe said. “But if I bring it, I’m excited to play top guys. I want to play top guys. If I play well, I’ve got a good chance against anyone in the world.”
Spirit loses to the Courage
The Washington Spirit battled with only 10 players but ended up falling short against the defending NWSL champions, the North Carolina Courage, 1-0 on Aug. 3 in Cary.
In the 24th minute, Washington defender Paige Nielsen pulled on midfielder Debinha for a foul. The referee gave Nielsen a straight red card for the play, leaving the Spirit down to 10 players.
Washington defended for long stretches and kept the game scoreless until the 64th minute when Debinha hit an eight-yard volley for the game’s lone goal for the win.
The Spirit return home to take on the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 10.