Trio of 1st-inning homers leads O's over Nats

Trio of 1st-inning homers leads O's over Nats

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles used three first-inning homers off Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez to ride their way to Monday's series-opening 6-4 win at Camden Yards.

The win, the first of four games between the two Beltway rivals, kept the O's a half-game back of the American League East-leading Yankees while the Nationals -- who have a considerable cushion -- remain atop the NL East. Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini each went deep, with Mancini delivering a two-run blow, as the Orioles jumped out to a four-run lead in the first inning.

The Nats battled back late in the game. Bryce Harper, who returned to the Nats' lineup after dealing with groin soreness, homered off of reliever Darren O'Day in the eighth. 

They started a rally in the ninth inning, but a few mishaps on the basepaths ended the game. The rally began with a one-out double by Matt Wieters with runners on first and second, but Adam Lind was unable to score from first because he thought the ball had been caught.

That put runners on second and third as Trea Turner pinch-ran for Wieters at second. But Lind did not run home on a groundout to first base from Brian Goodwin, and Turner got caught up between second and third before eventually Lind was tagged for the final out.

Davis starts game-ending DP

"I got a little ahead of myself and caused the situation," Turner said.

"I don't know what happened," Lind said. "If I'd knew what happened it probably wouldn't have happened."

Gonzalez, who had allowed just seven runs on the season, was able to hang in there and go six innings, giving up six earned runs. Orioles starter Kevin Gausman went a season-high seven innings, holding Washington to two runs in the process.

"He's been very quietly one of the more consistent starters in baseball really," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Gonzalez. "You've got to throw him in there with a lot of guys. He makes 30 starts every year and gives his team a chance to win, so you better not let him get his feet on the ground or it can be a long night."

Gonzalez K's Machado

Oh no, Gio! The Nats lefty hadn't allowed more than two runs in a single start on the season, but allowed four runs in the first inning alone on Monday. Rickard opened the game with a solo shot while Trumbo went way outside the zone two outs later for another blast. Mancini, who also drove in Chris Davis, notched his seventh homer of the year to cap the big inning off.

Mancini's two-run dinger

"2-1 fastball in. Fastball over Trumbo's head. Home run. Next pitch, 0-0 fastball," Gonzalez said. "They were hitting their strikes. The only one that wasn't a strike was Trumbo."

Statcast™ of the day: Trumbo's tomahawk shot 

Gausman delivers: The Orioles' Opening Day starter, Gausman had just one quality start on the season entering Monday. He was able to get ahead early and often on the Nats, striking out eight and allowing five hits and a walk.

Gausman's strong outing

"I had a good feel for my curveball, slider was working really well tonight," Gausman said. "They have a lot of good left-handed hitters. I knew that was going to be a big pitch for me. Also being able to throw it to righties, down and away. I felt really good with everything tonight." More >

With Jonathan Schoop's fourth-inning double, the second baseman has reached base in a career-high 23 consecutive games played.

The backstop, making his return to Camden Yards after eight seasons with Baltimore, received a pair of standing ovations from the home crowd. He also delivered an RBI double in the ninth. More >

Wieters' RBI double

"Yeah. It's a tug," Showalter said of watching Wieters play in another uniform. "Very classy thing the organization did there with the welcome back. Had to swallow hard. I think we all did." 

Wieters' return to Baltimore

The Orioles got good news on closer Zach Britton on Monday night, as the lefty's second opinion on his forearm strain turned up nothing new. Britton, who took another MRI, is expected to head to the team's spring facility to start his rehab.

Nationals: Max Scherzer (4-2, 2.66 ERA) will take the mound Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. ET for the final game at Camden Yards in this split four-game series. Facing the Orioles last season, he struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings in a 4-0 Nats victory.

Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez will start Tuesday's game for the Orioles after he appeared in long relief behind Gausman in Boston. The righty has been inconsistent and is 1-1 with a 6.58 ERA on the year.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Jamal Collier
covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.