Adam Frazier homers off the bench and Kyle Bradish cruises in return as Orioles shut out Nationals again, 4-0

Earlier this month, when pitcher Kyle Bradish went down with a foot injury against the Texas Rangers, starter Tyler Wells volunteered to pitch in relief and tossed five no-hit innings to not just save the Orioles’ bullpen, but lead the club to victory.

With Bradish back on a big league mound Wednesday for the first time since his injury, another Oriole came off the bench to replace an injured player in a Baltimore win. Adam Frazier, who replaced Jorge Mateo in the second inning after the shortstop exited with right hip discomfort, hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning to power the Orioles to a 4-0 victory over the host Washington Nationals.

Baltimore (11-7) managed just four hits in the win, but Bradish was excellent in his return with six strikeouts in six shutout innings. Four relievers followed Bradish to complete the second straight shutout of the Nationals after Dean Kremer and three bullpen arms didn’t allow a run in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory.

The Orioles have won three games in a row for the first time this season and are 53-39 overall against the Nationals in the Beltway Series.

Mateo grounded out to shortstop to end the second inning, and the speedster labored while running down the first base line. The speedster has been one of the Orioles’ best players this season; entering Wednesday, his 1.1 wins above replacement on FanGraphs ranked No. 1 on the team, slightly ahead of Adley Rutschman’s 0.9. Mostly known for his defense and speed, Mateo entered the contest ranked second in the American League with a 1.078 OPS and eight steals.

While Mateo’s injury could be a concern, Frazier made it not so for at least one game. Frazier, who played second after Mateo’s exit as Ramón Urías moved to third and Gunnar Henderson moved to shortstop, clobbered an 82.8 mph curveball from Nationals starter MacKenzie Gore 377 feet to right field to give Baltimore a 3-0 lead it would not relinquish.

Baltimore’s first run came in the third inning when Adley Rutschman walked with the bases loaded for the club’s fourth RBI walk in five games. Gunnar Henderson (15 walks in 16 games this season) and Cedric Mullins (eight walks in past six games) both earned a base on balls in the inning. While the Orioles managed just five runs and nine hits in the two-game series against the Nationals, they walked nine times to bring their total in the past five games to 35.

The Orioles added an insurance run in the ninth on a Henderson single for just his third RBI of the season.

Bradish sharp in return

The last time the Orioles had back-to-back shutouts was Sept. 22 and 23 against the Houston Astros.

The pitchers in those two games: Bradish and Kremer.

The Orioles have now pitched 26 consecutive scoreless innings, with the club’s last run allowed coming in the first inning of its win Sunday over the Chicago White Sox. Grayson Rodriguez allowed four runs in that first frame but then tossed four scoreless and was followed by four more sharp innings from the bullpen. Kremer pitched 6 2/3 innings in Tuesday’s triumph.

Bradish (1-0), who tossed just 1 2/3 innings against the Rangers before a line drive bruised his right foot and forced him to exit, was sharp throughout his start Wednesday. He struck out six batters, getting 10 swings and misses, and walked just one while scattering five hits.

The 26-year-old right-hander got nine outs via ground balls, including a key double play in the second after back-to-back Washington singles. He then got five more groundouts in the third and fourth and struck out two batters in the fifth.

Bryan Baker, Cionel Pérez, Yennier Cano and Mike Baumann capped the shutout.

Around the horn

  • Manager Brandon Hyde said before the game that he hopes relievers Mychal Givens (left knee inflammation) and Dillon Tate (right forearm strain) both begin their minor league rehabilitation assignments next week. Givens and Tate, two right-handers with several years of MLB experience, could be on the same timeline to return to Baltimore, but Hyde said it depends on how they progress through their rehab stints.
  • To reinstate Bradish from the 15-day injured list, the Orioles optioned right-hander Logan Gillaspie to Triple-A Norfolk. Gillaspie, 26, allowed eight hits and four earned runs in five innings out of the Orioles’ bullpen. His last outing was his blown save in the 10th inning Saturday against the White Sox.

This story will be updated.

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