Orioles limited to four hits by Erick Fedde, Nationals bullpen in 3-0 series-opening loss – The Mercury News

The ball from Adley Rutschman’s bat made its way into the right-field corner, allowing the catcher to reach second base with a double. That was the closest the Orioles came to crossing home plate on Tuesday night against the Washington Nationals.

The 24-year-old rookie became the first Baltimore batter to get into scoring position, taking until the seventh inning to do so. He would be the last, too. The Orioles managed just three hits to go along with Rutschman’s seventh double of the season, a flat effort against another losing team that stops the momentum of a series win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Right-hander Erick Fedde got away with several miscasts en route to his 3-0 victory, overcoming 26 pitches the Orioles fouled him to post six scoreless innings. Meanwhile, Baltimore (30-39) couldn’t back right-hander Jordan Lyles off to his best start in a month.

“Hopefully I can take advantage of the last outing or two,” Lyles said, “and tomorrow we can pick up the bat and try to split this series.”

So, Rutschman stayed at second base in the seventh inning, the only offensive threat the Orioles produced. It wasn’t much. And he left them with a worse record against sub-.500 opponents this year than against winning teams.

“Tonight, collectively, we just didn’t do much offensively,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

Lyles buckles up

The Nationals (25-46) had ample opportunities to pounce on Lyles early on, a practice Washington manager Dave Martinez hoped to exploit, wanting to avoid Baltimore’s bullpen. But Lyles got out of harm’s way in the first and second innings, even after giving up doubles to three of the first six batters he faced.

A first-pitch fastball down the middle to Cesar Hernandez soon turned into a leadoff double toward the right-field fence, and Nelson Cruz did what he has done so often with the Orioles since turning down their qualifying offer. in 2014 to choose free agency: drive baseball. Cruz hit an RBI double off Lyles, giving the Nationals all the ground support they needed.

The 41-year-old slugger entered Tuesday with a 1,120 OPS against the Orioles since 2015, the second-highest by a player with at least 150 plate appearances against them in that span, trailing only the Boston Red Sox slugger. , JD Martinez, according to Baseball Reference.

And just hours after Hyde praised his defense for making routine plays at a faster rate than in previous years, an error by second baseman Rougned Odor helped bring in another run. Odor spread his hips to shoot shortstop Jorge Mateo at second to start a possible inning-ending double play, but his wide throw resulted in Mateo’s foot going off the bag. One run was scored and the bases remained loaded.

After that, however, Lyles buckled up. He retired 15 of the last 18 batters he faced, completing six innings for the first time since May 23. Lyles missed his scheduled start Sunday with a stomach bug, but said he “felt good enough to go out there and pitch. and he got off to a quality start.”

After two shaky first innings, Lyles allowed two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 with three walks and four strikeouts.

“A couple of bad pitches here and there, but I felt like we did a good job staying in the game,” Lyles said. “Second inning, bases loaded. One of those situations could have gotten out of control.”

The five starts between May 23 and Tuesday had been part of a slump in which he allowed a combined 20 earned runs in 26 1/3 innings, but Lyles built his start in Toronto. During that start, he felt his plumb control improved and meshed well with his slider.

On Tuesday, however, Lyles didn’t force as many swings and misses as he did against the Blue Jays, when he drew seven shots on his slider alone and 14 overall. The 31-year-old managed seven on Tuesday and his turn rate was notably lower in four of his five offers, according to Statcast. Lyles said his changeup was the only breaking pitch he “felt he could count on again.”

But it was a return to something closer to what Lyles calls himself: the entrance hall capable of being a constant presence every five days.

As the only veteran presence in the starting rotation, right-hander Tyler Wells often jokes that Lyles is the father of the bunch. So on Father’s Day, Wells gave Lyles a T-shirt with Lyles’s face on it that said, “Best Dad Ever.”

Lyles wasn’t there to “laugh with them” as the stomach bug delayed his start by two days. But he pitched once again as the veteran of the group, finding his way after a rocky month. The lack of offense, however, left him with a loss.

around the horn

>> Infielder Ramón Urías’ recovery from a left oblique strain remains slow, though Hyde said he hopes Urías will be able to hit in the next few days.

>> First baseman Trey Mancini’s right hand is still sore, but the swelling has gone down, allowing him to be in the lineup Tuesday as designated hitter. The swelling was still present on the inside of his hand, around the little and ring fingers. The extra padding on his bat helped prevent a lot of pain.

>> Ravens rookie safety Kyle Hamilton, the 14th overall pick in the NFL draft, threw the ceremonial first pitch to Mancini, another Notre Dame product. A contingent of rookies from the Ravens and Washington Commanders also watched the game from a suite in left field.

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