Nats Shutout O’s in First Game of Battle of the Beltway Series, 3-0

Trevor Williams had eight strikeouts in five innings for the Nats. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

WASHINGTON, DC-The Battle of the Beltway series is always one to circle on the calendar. Many Nationals fans once rooted for the Orioles. Remember, DC did not have a pro baseball team for a period of 33 years. In the first series between the two teams this season, the O’s met the Nats in DC. Nats starter Trevor Williams (4-0) was not intimidated by a heavy- hitting O’s lineup featuring April’s AL Player of the Month, shortstop Gunnar Henderson and the AL Player of the Week in catcher Adley Rustchman. The duo – who won Rookie of the Year honors in 2023 and 2022, respectively – batted one and two in the O’s lineup. Williams, however, handled the lineup expertly.

Gunnar Henderson, the reigning AL Player of the Month (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

After giving up a hit in the first inning, he locked in, striking out eight in five innings on 77 pitches. He only allowed two hits the entire night and did not give any free passes, The defense played well behind him with second baseman Luis Garcia snagging a ball in mid-air to end the top of the fifth. The Nats have had trouble with errors this season, but with Williams on the mound, everyone playing behind him stepped up their effort.

O’s ace Corbin Burnes pitched 6.1 innings. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

O’s ace Corbin Burnes (3-2), who was acquired in an off-season trade from Milwaukee, allowed a hit in the first, and because of his slow delivery to the plate, had trouble with runners on base. He allowed three walks, and was called for a balk and disengagement violation. The Nats are known for their baserunning: They stole four total in the game and are tied with Cincinnati for the most in baseball at 57. A key steal came from Jesse Winker in the second. He stole second, and when Joey Meneses hit a single to left, he came around to score, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead.

Jesse Winker runs home to give the Nats their first score of the game. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

The late innings came quickly. The first six took 90 minutes to complete. The Nats bullpen kept the pace Williams set. With Robert Garcia and Derek Law, six O’s went up and went right back down.

In the bottom of the seventh, with Burnes still in, Meneses hit a double to left. Keibert Ruiz then moved him to third on a ball hit behind the runner. With Ruiz out, Eddie Rosario sent Meneses home. Up 2-0, the Nats scored another insurance run on the next at-bat. Trey Lipscomb singled to right, sending Rosario home and knocking Burnes out of the game.

Luis Garcia steals second, one oof four steals on the night for the Nats. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

In the top of the eighth, Hunter Harvey entered. Cedric Mullins provided a bit of tension with a single to right. But the Nats defense, again, came up big. In the bottom of the inning, with Jake Webb pitching for Baltimore, Nick Senzel took a walk. Next, Winker doubled off reliever Keegan Akin, sending Senzel to third. With two outs, Rosario walked and Lipscomb came to the plate with the bases loaded. Looking to put the game out of reach, he hit a groundout to second.

In the top of the ninth, Kyle Finnegan came in to nail down save no. 12 of his season. The O’s frustration finally showed when Ryan O’ Hearn and Manager Brandon Hyde were ejected for arguing a strikeout. To give the umpire credit, when a closer is going as good as Finnegan, it’s hard not to call pitches in his favor. For a night, the Nats have bragging rights. Perhaps more significant, this scrappy team is one game over .500 for the first time in three years.

Click HERE for full boxscore and highlights.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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