WASHINGTON -- Mother Nature spoiled Orioles starter Andrew Cashner's return from the disabled list and potentially one of his better outings of the year. But the avalanche of rain that pounded the D.C. area for hours didn't prevent Baltimore from finally busting the Beltway hex, even if it took until the wee hours of Thursday morning to get there.
Led by Mark Trumbo's two-run homer and four scoreless innings from Cashner, the Orioles prevailed, 3-0, in a soggy, marathon night that snapped a six-game losing streak to the Nationals.
The O's win, in a game drawn out by a two-hour, 43-minute rain delay, marked their first over the Nationals since May 10, 2017. It was also just Baltimore's second win in 12 games, a series-tying "W" that gives them a chance at taking the series from their southern neighbors.
"It was nice. I'm glad that we actually kept the game going," Trumbo said of the early offense. "Had we not been able to, [the homer] might have been a wash, but it ended up being pretty big for us."
Cashner had a rocky first inning -- allowing a double and a single -- but got a double-play ball from Bryce Harper to quash any looming threat. The righty -- who turned in his first scoreless outing since April 10 -- cruised through the next three innings before the rain came pelting down.
"I had a good feel. I'd really been working on my curveball, some adjustments I've been making with it," said Cashner, who threw every 30 minutes during the delay in hopes of a return. "I thought it was a lot better depth-wise. Fastball, both sides of the plate, and I kept my offspeed in the zone."
Cashner took his at-bat in the fifth, but his fate mirrored that of Nats lefty Giovany Gonzalez, who mouthed "we need a roof" as he walked off the mound.
Gonzalez's only mistake over his four innings was a 1-0 pitch to Trumbo, who delivered his fifth homer of the year. The blast also scored Jonathan Schoop, who opened the second with a bunt single.
"[The bunt was a] great baseball play. It caught me a little bit off guard," Trumbo said. "Great time for it, too. Last time we faced Gio, he did a really nice job, and I think that it was kind of unexpected. But it gave us a nice boost of momentum I think."
Danny Valencia added a tack-on run off of reliever Shawn Kelley in the sixth, scoring Adam Jones, who reached on a leadoff double, with a sacrifice fly.
Righty Miguel Castro followed Cashner, going two innings and pitching around back-to-back walks in the sixth. Darren O'Day tossed a scoreless seventh, and Zach Britton recorded four outs before closer Brad Brach finished things off dramatically.
"It's tough to get in the flow of a long inning," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the impact of the rain. "Brad was the last guy I wanted to pitch tonight. I doubled up in case he threw like 12 pitches, and he would have to continue. I've got a headache right now from that game. I had too much time to think during the rain delay."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Brach shaky, but delivers: Brach loaded the bases with one out after a pair of singles and a walk to pinch-hitter Brian Goodwin. But he got Mark Reynolds to go down looking at strike three to end the game.
TILLMAN REHAB UPDATE
In his first rehab start with Class A Short-Season Aberdeen since sustaining a lower back injury in the beginning of May, Chris Tillman had a tale of two innings. In the first inning, Tillman was forced to throw 35 pitches and was nicked for three earned runs in the process. In the second, however, Tillman had to make only eight pitches for a 1-2-3 inning and was then taken out of the game with a three-inning/45-pitch limit.
After being sidelined four days with a hamstring injury, reliever Darren O'Day felt good after a bullpen session that took place following Tuesday's loss and was made available Wednesday night. When called upon with a 3-0 lead in the seventh, he needed 18 pitches for a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a pair and inducing a flyout.
"Good, good. That was encouraging. We'll see how he feels in the morning. They did a lot of work today. I think he's got a little brace just to be on the safe side," Showalter said. "I'm hoping we dodged [a disabled list stint]."
HE SAID IT
"He's most upset about his at-bats. I told him he was out of the game and he was upset, then I told him he was going to hit, and he was happy again." -- Showalter, on Cashner
Kevin Gausman took a tough-luck loss last outing, fanning seven and giving up just two runs in 5 2/3 innings while the O's offense was unable to put a run on the board all night. The righty is searching for his first win since May 11. Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Nationals.