MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Barrett provides big lift, but 'pen can't finish job

Activated from DL, Nats righty fans two in impressive seventh before O's strike late

Barrett provides big lift, but 'pen can't finish job

BALTIMORE -- Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez left Friday's game against the Orioles in the seventh inning with a one-run lead. But after Aaron Barrett made a resounding return in relief, the bullpen faltered later as the Nationals lost, 3-2, on a ninth-inning walk-off home run by Jonathan Schoop at Camden Yards.

Washington's bullpen got off to a great start after Gonzalez exited following a leadoff walk. Right-hander Aaron Barrett, who was activated from the disabled list earlier Friday, pitched in his first game since June 11 and dominated. He struck out J.J. Hardy and Schoop before getting Manny Machado to pop up to shortstop Ian Desmond to end the inning. Barrett missed almost a month because of a right biceps strain.

"I'm glad [manager Matt Williams] had confidence in me in that situation," Barrett said. "I'm trying to get back to help the team in whatever role is available. I felt good coming back. I was able, for the most part, to put the ball where I wanted to."

But the Orioles tied the score in the eighth inning following Barrett's splendid seventh. After allowing a single to Chris Parmelee, Casey Janssen left the game in favor of Matt Thornton, who allowed an RBI double to Matt Wieters.

"I had a game plan, and he jumped on the first pitch and was able to drive it on a perfect line to right-center, where Parmelee got a great jump at first. Always frustrating when you blow a game," Thornton said.

In the ninth, Tanner Roark seemed virtually unhittable. He struck out the first two hitters -- Jimmy Paredes and Hardy -- before Schoop came to the plate and hit a 2-2 slider over the left-field wall for the game-winner.

"The pitch that went out wasn't a bad pitch. He hooked a slider. It happens," Williams said.

Said Roark, "He got some good wood on it. It got out of here. That's what basically happened. I thought it was a good pitch. Maybe it could have been a touch lower."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.