BALTIMORE (AP)—The Baltimore Orioles certainly deserve credit for their biggest comeback of the season.
And most definitely, the Washington Nationals warrant much of the blame for allowing it to happen.
After rallying from a six-run deficit, the Orioles beat the Nationals 7-6 Friday night when pinch-runner Jake Fox(notes) scored the winning run in the ninth inning on a throwing error by Cristian Guzman(notes).
Baltimore trailed 6-0 in the fifth inning and 6-3 in the eighth before coming back. Baltimore took full advantage of Washington’s season-high four errors—none more damaging than the last.
“It’s not football. I can’t put a defensive team and an offensive team out there,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “It’s the major leagues and we have to play major league defense.”
Matt Wieters(notes) drew a one-out walk from Tyler Clippard(notes) (8-4) in the ninth and moved to second on a single by Scott Moore(notes). Fox then ran for Wieters, and Matt Capps(notes) entered to face Julio Lugo(notes).
Before Dunn could chase down the errant throw, Fox raced home.
Baltimore’s first three runs were also unearned. Two errors by Desmond in the fifth inning helped the Orioles close to 6-3, and by the eighth inning the game was tied.
“We had 10 different ways to win that game,” Desmond said. “We lost it 10 different ways.”
How about Moore? Not only did his ninth-inning single set up the winning run, but his two-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth got the Orioles to 6-5. Before that hit, he was 1 for 17 with 10 strikeouts in his career as a pinch hitter.
In the eighth, Wieters drew a leadoff walk and Moore homered on a 3-1 pitch from Clippard, the first home run allowed by the Nationals in 73 innings. One out later, Cesar Izturis(notes) doubled and scored on a single by Patterson.
“I felt like I let us down in a big way tonight,” Clippard said. “It’s tough to swallow.”
Washington’s Nyjer Morgan(notes) got four hits, scored three runs and reached high above the center-field wall to make a sensational catch. But that—and Dunn’s four RBIs—weren’t enough to prevent the Nationals from losing for the 18th time in their past 22 road games.
Morgan singled and scored in both the first and third innings, doubled and scored in the fourth and singled in the sixth. The four hits tied a career high, and he also stole a base.
But his finest moment came in the field, when he robbed Patterson of a home run in the third inning. Morgan jumped from the warning track, planted his foot on the padded barrier and reached far over the 7-foot wall to snag the ball as a fan reached down in a bid to make it his own.
When Morgan pulled the ball from his glove and threw it back to the infield, Patterson took off his batting helmet, tipped it in the outfielder’s direction and smiled. Nationals starter J.D. Martin(notes) thrust his arms upward and roared his approval.
“Definitely a nice catch,” Morgan said, “but the game hurt.”
The Nationals built their early lead by scoring an unearned run off Jake Arrieta(notes) in the first inning and adding two runs in the third on a sacrifice fly by Dunn and an RBI single by Ivan Rodriguez(notes).
The opener of an interleague series dubbed “The Battle of the Beltways” drew 43,484 fans at Camden Yards.
NOTES: Orioles INF Ty Wigginton(notes) missed the game with a tight back. … Nationals LF Willie Harris(notes) ended an 0-for-20 streak with a bunt single in the second. … Baltimore interim manager Juan Samuel said OF Lou Montanez(notes) has a strained oblique muscle and will probably be placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday. The club has to make room for RHP Brad Bergesen(notes), who will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to start against Washington. RHP Koji Uehara(notes) (forearm) will not be activated until at least Sunday, Samuel said.