WASHINGTON –– Ubaldo Jimenez walked out for his postgame interviews dripping with shaving cream. He had something to celebrate.
Jimenez became the 11th pitcher born in the Dominican Republic to record 100 wins on Tuesday night.
His win wasn’t especially artful, but statistically it didn’t look bad. Jimenez walked five, but allowed just three hits and an unearned run in six innings as the Orioles beat the Nationals 4-1 before 27,338 at Nationals Park.
Jimenez (12-9) won his third straight decision and had an RBI single, but it was his milestone win he was eager to talk about.
“It doesn’t matter how you look at it, it’s not easy. You have to go through a lot of tough times, a lot of good times and times you’re probably going to enjoy a lot. Once you get that number, you take a break and you look back and it seems like yesterday when I got to the big leagues. I already have eight years and 100 wins. It’s been a really enjoyable moment,” Jimenez said.
Manager Buck Showalter was happy for Jimenez.
“It’s a big moment for him,” Showalter said. “Sometimes we forget how long and good a career he’s actually had.”
The Orioles (74-76), who were rained out on Monday, had the backing of much of the crowd in this late season “Battle of the Beltway”, but the sense of fun that surrounds these games when they’re played in the warm weather, was absent as fall arrives.
Brad Brach pitched two hitless innings and Darren O’Day got his fourth save. O’Day was used where Zach Britton would normally pitch.
Britton revealed after the game he was suffering from a strained left lat muscle, one he hurt last week against Boston, and Showalter, pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti have been monitoring the injury.
“Tried to come back and pitch in Tampa and it just kind of fired up again. The thing with Buck and Dave and Dom is they maintain the health of their pitchers probably better than anyone in the game. He doesn't want to risk my health or anybody's health right now at this point in the season. We're coming in every day expecting to be able to pitch and just kind of going day by day,” Britton said.
“But it's been a little bit of a challenge the last few outings to kind of get it to where I want it to be. So trying to nip it in the bud. It shouldn't be anything that lasts for a long time. Everything we've heard from the doctors is it's just a couple days. Kind of go day by day, really. It could just disappear the next day.”
The Orioles scored two runs in the second off Gio Gonzalez. With one out, Caleb Joseph and J.J. Hardy walked. Joseph took third on Junior Lake’s fly ball to right and scored when Jimenez singled to right-center.
It was Jimenez’s second hit and RBI of the season.
Nolan Reimold’s run-scoring single made it 2-0.
A horribly played half-inning by the Orioles led to a Washington (78-72) run in the fourth. Lake playing center in place of the injured Adam Jones, muffed Clint Robinson’s fly ball for a two-base error. Ian Desmond’s infield single put runners on first and third.
Michael A. Taylor popped to short right. Jonathan Schoop, who nearly collided with right fielder Steve Pearce, caught the ball with his back to the infield, wheeled and threw home, holding Robinson at third.
Jose Lobaton bounced to second where Schoop bobbled the ball for an error. Instead of a double play to end the fourth, Robinson scored, and the lead was 2-1.
Manny Machado singled with one out in the fifth and scored on a great slide after Chris Davis’ double. Pearce’s double drove in Davis, and the Orioles led 4-1.
It was Machado’s 500th hit, an impressive accomplishment for a player who turned 23 in July.
“It’s great that it came. I worked hard to get here,” Machado said. “Hopefully, I’ve got many more hits to come. Right now it’s just keep playing baseball. If more hits come, just gonna help the team in whichever way possible. Hopefully I can get more of them.”
Gonzalez (11-8) was removed after 4 2/3 innings. He allowed four runs on six hits.
The Orioles are five games behind Houston for the second wild card.
“I think we have a lot of things going our way. I think everyone’s clicking, everyone’s doing what they need to do, doing their job. I think that’s what it takes to get to where we want to go,” Machado said.
NOTES: The Orioles tied a season high by committing three errors. … Chris Tillman (9-11, 5.19) faces Max Scherzer (12-11, 2.90) on Wednesday night.
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