The Orioles looked like they might be the victim of a no-hitter Tuesday night, but they waited for Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer to exit the game and then rallied to score their sixth straight victory before an announced 26,348 at Camden Yards.
Scherzer carried his no-hit bid into the sixth inning and the Nationals carried a two-run lead into the ninth, but the O's forced the game into extra innings and scored a 5-4 victory, which gave them the best record in the major leagues at 22-10.
Mark Trumbo finally ended it in the bottom of the 12th with a line drive down the left-field line that gave the Orioles a sweep of the home half of four-game interleague rivalry series with the first-place Nats.
Adam Jones started the rally with a line-drive single to right and Manny Machado poked a bouncer up the middle to send Jones to third. The Nats chose to walk Chris Davis intentionally and Trumbo hit the first pitch he saw from Nats reliever Jacob Turner.
"This was a big game," Trumbo said. "You had a great pitcher on the mound for them. We knew we were really going to have to fight. This was definitely a good one."
The game was supposed to be one the biggest pitching mismatches of the season, but it turned into a classic duel. Scherzer allowed just two runs on four hits over eight innings and struggling Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez allowed just two hits over seven innings before finally blinking in the eighth.
The Nationals got back-to-back singles to open that inning and pitch hitter Adam Lind launched a tiebreaking three-run homer over the center-field fence that figured to send the Nats home with a split of the Oriole Park half of the four-game, home-and-home interleague rivalry series.
Instead, Jones homered off Scherzer in the eighth and the Orioles got run-scoring hits from Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy to send the game into extra innings.
Orioles fans saw the side of Jimenez that persuaded the Orioles to sign him to a rich four-year contract before the 2014 season. He was efficient and overpowering until the Nats opened the eighth inning with a pair of singles – one of them a soft blooper over the infield. He struck out No. 8 hitter Chris Heisey before Lind batted for Michael Taylor and launched a towering fly ball that survived a acrobatic attempt by Jones to keep it in the ballpark.
"Ubaldo pitched real well,'' manager Buck Showalter said. "When you've got a guy like Scherzer out there, you know that runs are going to be at a premium for your offense, so you've got to really dial up a good one and he did. I'm really proud of him. That's a real good lineup and he pitched well."
Long reliever Logan Verrett pitched the final three innings of the game and gave up just two hits to get the victory, his second of the year in a similar situation.
"Logan, that was a key for us because we only had really three pitchers tonight out of the bullpen, so we had to do some things differently. … Considering he had eight days off that was pretty impressive, but they do a lot of work in between. That's twice Logan has done that for us."
Jones moves up RBI list: Jones’ fifth home run of the season increased his career RBI total to 744, which ties him with Brady Anderson for sixth place on the club’s all-time list.
Matching fives: Though Scherzer had a no-hit bid at the time, he and Jimenez were having similar outings at the end of the fifth inning. Both had pitched to the same number of batters, with Scherzer throwing 71 pitches and Jimenez throwing 70. The only real difference at that point was the solo home run by Daniel Murphy in the second inning. Smith canceled that out in the sixth and the game entered the seventh with both teams combining for three hits.
Cool-down cycle: Trey Mancini and Caleb Joseph were coming off big performances in Monday night’s game. Mancini had a multi-hit game and a mammoth home run. Joseph tied a career high with four hits in four at-bats. Yet no one could have expected them to stay hot against Scherzer on Tuesday night and they didn’t. Each of them struck out twice and hit a fly ball to right field in his first three at-bats.