After the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals expended everything they had in three consecutive spirited games, the neighboring rivals parted ways knowing they will see each other again next month. Then, perhaps, again after that.
Steve Pearce homered and scored twice to help Taiwan’s Chen Wei-yin earn his ninth victory as the Orioles beat Washington 4-3 on Thursday night for their eighth win in 10 games.
Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz both drove in a run for the Orioles, who built a 4-0 lead in the third inning and held on. Baltimore took two of three from the Nationals in the rain-shortened, home-and-home interleague showdown between division leaders.
“I personally enjoyed that series a lot, just cause of the proximity and the atmosphere down in DC,” said Orioles reliever Darren O’Day, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. “They’re top of the NL. Hopefully, we get to play them a few more times, later in the year in October. That would be nice.”
The Orioles won the opener in Washington, needing 11 innings to do so, before rain postponed Tuesday’s game until Aug. 4. The Nationals prevailed on Wednesday before coming up short in the finale.
Although the teams are based only 65km apart, enthusiasm for the series is not exactly Mets-Yankees or Cubs-White Sox, but there is still hope.
“It was a good series. It was very well put together,” losing pitcher Gio Gonzalez said. “It showed that there’s a lot of hope for a Beltway Series. They looked good and we looked good. Everyone had some fun.”
Jayson Werth homered for Washington, while Ryan Zimmerman had two hits and an RBI.
Chen (9-3) gave up three runs and eight hits in 5-2/3 innings, walking none and striking out six. The Taiwanese left-hander is 6-1 in 12 starts since May 3 and his nine wins are the most on the team.
After O’Day survived the eighth, Zach Britton got three outs for his 15th save, capping his 22nd consecutive scoreless appearance at home by retiring Werth with a runner on first.
At that point, the Orioles and many in crowd of 30,417 breathed a collective sigh of relief.
“That’s a very good team,” Jones said. “We love the competition and we love the fact that you never know what could happen in October. You could have a Battle of the Beltway when it’s a little colder and bring the fans back out.”
Gonzalez (6-5) allowed three earned runs and six hits in 6-2/3 innings. His streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings ended when Pearce connected in the first.
Gonzalez won his previous three starts without giving up a run and was unbeaten in four starts following a one-month stay on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
“I felt fine,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a tough lineup, all the way down to the last guy.”
Pearce put the Orioles in front for good with a drive to left on a 2-0 pitch. It was his 11th home run, more than his previous three seasons combined.
Baltimore added three runs in the third after Gonzalez retired the first two batters. After an RBI double by Jones put runners on second and third, Cruz grounded a run-scoring single in the hole that shortstop Ian Desmond gloved before throwing wildly to third, allowing Jones to score.
That ended Washington’s 13-game errorless streak, which matched the team’s longest run since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005.
Zimmerman’s two-out RBI single made it 4-1 in the fourth and Washington got runners on the corners with two outs in the fifth, before Chen struck out Anthony Rendon on three pitches.
The Nationals closed to 4-3 in the sixth.
After Werth homered on an 0-2 pitch — his second long ball in two nights — Zimmerman doubled and Desmond chased Chen with an RBI double off the scoreboard in right field, before Tommy Hunter retired Wilson Ramos on a ground-out.
Ramos later flied out with the bases full in the eighth.
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
LOOKING TO REPEAT: World No. 7 Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin advanced to the round-of-16 at the Toyota Thailand Open, after winning the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday Taiwan’s world No. 7 duo yesterday eased past the US’ world No. 37 pairing at the Toyota Thailand Open to reach the round-of-16 in Bangkok. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-14, 21-11 in just 24 minutes. Lee and Wang, who won the men’s doubles title at the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday, next face the world No. 34 pairing, Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen again beat Thailand’s world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, after edging past the Thai player in the opening round of the Yonex
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Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,