Home-and-home means more Mystics, Storm

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Home-and-home means more Mystics, Storm

For the second time in 48 hours, the Mystics face the Seattle Storm. For the first time in four games, Washington will play on its Verizon Center court. Based on how the locals played on their just completed three-game road trip including a loss Sunday in the Pacific Northwest, the Mystics will take any advantage they can get. Games in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Seattle ended the way all five-road games have gone for the Mystics (2-8) this season: with a loss. On this venture, the trio of setbacks came by an average margin of 17 points, the exact difference in the 72-55 loss to the Storm (5-7).Now the Mystics seek revenge as they open a four-game home stand on Tuesday night.
Washington lost for the seventh time in eight games despite Crystal Langhorne scoring 21 points on 9 of 15 field goal attempts. Her teammates in the same game, 13 of 48 (27.1 percent). Combined with scoring only nine points in the second quarter and the Storm shooting 56 percent from the floor, Washington lost its third straight to Seattle and its seventh straight in Seattle.Adding to the frustration, the loss came in a game where the often-miscuing Mystics only turned the ball over 12 timesand helda 13-2 offensive rebounding advantage. We did take care of the ball and took 15 more shots than them, but we just struggled to put the ball in the hole, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said.The struggles offensively were indeed a team effort.Michelle Snow and Monique Currie combined for 41 points in the one tight game on the road swing, a 3-point loss at Phoenix. Four days later, the frontcourt duo failed to score a single point.Snows four-game tear since entering the starting lineup ended with a thud as the center missed her only field goal attempt in 17 minutes of play. After making of half of her 16 shots en route to a 20 point outing against the Mercury on Wednesday, Currie missed all six of her attempts and was scoreless on Sunday.The starting backcourt of Matee Ajavon and Jasmine Thomas finished with only one turnover compared to five assists, but they also missed 14 of 19 field goal attempts. Tough game for us, said Langhorne. I felt like they controlled the pace the entire game. Our offense really wasnt clicking and things just didnt go our way. The struggles offensively have also been a constant throughout the season. The Mystics are averaging a league-low 68.6 points, just below the Storm's 68.66.Sue Bird and Ann Wauters led the surging Storm, winners of four straight, with 14 points each. Former Mystics forward Katie Smith scored nine points and had a game-high plusminus of 20.I think were playing better, but I think there is still more to go, said Bird, a member of the U.S. womens Olympic basketball team headed to London this summer.Rather than face the Storm earlier in the season when they lost six of seven games, the Mystics get a team finding its stride. At least now, Langhorne and company know what is coming up.Yes, its always nice to go back home so hopefully we can pull out some wins, Langhorne said. We know what to expect (on Tuesday) so well be ready. The Mystics only two wins this season came at home including a victory in their last game at the Verizon Center, 67-66 over Indiana on June 15. With a victory Tuesday, the Mystics will have won conseutive home games for the first time since winning five straight closingthe 2010 season regular season.

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Behind Gausman, Orioles win round 2 in 'Beltway Battle'

Behind Gausman, Orioles win round 2 in 'Beltway Battle'

BALTIMORE—Now that Chris Tillman is headed to the disabled list, Kevin Gausman will be more important than ever to the Orioles.

On Tuesday night, Gausman showed just how important he can be with six shutout innings against the Washington Nationals.

With Dylan Bundy, Yovani Gallardo, Wade Miley and now Ubaldo Jimenez in the rotation, Gausman’s role will be much more prominent. 

Gausman’s second straight win, the first time he’s done that in more than two years, gave the Orioles an 8-1 win over the Nationals, their second straight win in the Battle of the Beltways before 26,697 at Oriole Park. 

It was the first time Gausman won two straight since June 2014 when he won three in a row. In his next start, he’ll try and forget his road woes when he faces the New York Yankees on Sunday. Gausman hasn’t won on the road since Aug. 17, 2014.

He knows that Tillman will be hard to replace. 

“It’s going to be huge, especially this time of year. Every game matters from here on out, especially in a tight race in the east. We’re sad to miss him, but hopefully a little bit of rest will get him to come back and he’ll be ready to go,” Gausman said. 

Dylan Bundy dazzled the Nationals on Monday, and Gausman was effective enough to hold the lead the Orioles gave him.

“You could say there were a lot of deep counts and a lot of pitches in three or four or five innings, but you can’t drop your guard against those guys. They have so many landmines through their order that you’ve just got to keep grinding. We’ll take the finished product. He gave us six shutout innings and Kevin wanted to go another inning. I feel good, knock on wood, about the way he and Dylan feel right now this time of year,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

The Orioles (69-56) knocked out Reynaldo Lopez (2-2) out in the third after six runs scored. 

Mark Trumbo, who hadn’t had a hit that wasn’t a home run since Aug. 11, scored Adam Jones in the first on an RBI single. Trumbo, the only player this year who had seven straight hits that were home runs, was out at second. 

Matt Wieters’ double and Jones’ single gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead in the second. 

Three more runs scored in the third on a Jonathan Schoop RBI double and a two-run error with the bases loaded by Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy. 

Lopez left after the error.

“I think we just waited him out. Lopez, the guy has electric stuff, sitting at 96 to 98 with a sharp curveball, good changeup. We just made him work, made him throw strikes, got to favorable counts. He's got good stuff, so be sure to pay attention to him in his future,” Jones said. 

Showalter won three replay challenges in the first three innings. Twice, Washington center fielder Trea Turner was ruled safe at second on a stolen base, and twice the call was overturned. 

In the bottom of the third, Jones beat out an infield single after review. 

“It certainly helped. We needed each one of them. It kept any momentum from getting going,” Showalter said. 

The Orioles are now 19-for-32 on replay challenges. Their three correct challenges equal the major league season high. 

Jones ended up with four singles, equaling his career high. 

“We know how to hit also. We've got a lot of professional hitters here who know how to hit with men in scoring position, not just homers,” Jones said. 

Gausman (5-10) left after six.

“It was good. I got away with some pitches early, and had some balls go foul. That was pretty big. I didn’t necessarily pitch great, but it’s just one of those days where you try to keep grinding and look up and somehow, I didn’t give up a run,” Gausman said.

Vance Worley allowed a run in the seventh on four singles. Danny Espinosa’s RBI single was the only run for the Nationals (73-52). 

Chris Davis hit his 30th home run of the season in the eighth. It’s the fourth time in his Orioles career he’s hit 30.  

Worley worked three innings for his first career save. 

NOTES: The Orioles are planning to visit Walter Reed National Military Center on Wednesday. … Wade Miley (7-10, 5.58) faces Tanner Roark (13-6, 2.87) on Wednesday at Nationals Park. 
 

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Nats fall on wrong side of three challenges by Orioles manager Showalter

Nats fall on wrong side of three challenges by Orioles manager Showalter

Manager Dusty Baker is new to MLB's system of replay challenges as the first-year skipper of the Washington Nationals. There have been times this season where the rules have helped Baker and his team. Tuesday night was not one of those times.

Buck Showalter of the Orioles matched an MLB season-high with three successful manager challenges in the Nats' 8-1 loss at Camden Yards. Two of them pulled Trea Turner off the basepaths. One of them ruled Adam Jones safe to extend an inning.

The two Turner ones hurt the most, as they contributed to a long night for the Nationals offense, one in which they landed 10 hits but scored just one run. Turner was ruled out on two steal attempts at second base. One was in the first inning after he led off the game with a single. The other was in the third inning, again after he got on with a single.

Both plays featured throws by Orioles catcher Matt Wieters that were to the right of the bag, but second baseman Jonathan Schoop was able to pull the ball in and make the tag with Turner sliding past him.

"You can’t do anything if the throws are towards first base," Baker said. "They weren’t very good throws. It just happens they were very good tags. You got a 6-foot-4, long-armed second baseman, and most people don’t even get down in that position to make that tag."

Turner agreed on the throws and wished, in a sense, they were more on target.

"I just wish he would have made good throws right over the bag, I think I have a better chance that way," he said. "Throw gets taken up the line, you know he can put the tag on you a little bit faster and that's what happened tonight."

Getting Turner, one of the fastest players in baseball, into scoring position generally leads to good things. The Nats instead had him sent back to the dugout after lengthy delays while the umpires conferred with New York.

Both Baker and Turner stewed over the replay system itself as they waited. And afterwards each made their opinions clear.

"Don't care for it too much. I don't think I or we or anybody on this side has really benefit from it, so for that reason I don't really care for it," Turner said.

Baker was much more direct and descriptive.

"Number one, I just think it takes too long… they've gotta do something to correct the length of time. Maybe after 30 seconds if they're inconclusive, then come up with whatever the umpire said," Baker said.

"It sort of makes a point of why do we need umpires, if you're going to dispute everything that they say? I don't know. I'm kind of new this year to replay, but it's tough to lose three of them… To me, it doesn't make the umpires look very good. I just hope they correct this."

[RELATED: Lopez rocked as Nats suffer lopsided loss to Orioles]

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What happens next as Tillman's injury will send him to disabled list

What happens next as Tillman's injury will send him to disabled list

BALTIMORE—Chris Tillman, the Orioles winningest pitcher, is going on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. 

Tillman, who was supposed to start against Max Scherzer at Nationals Park on Thursday, will miss that start and will be eligible to return on Sept. 5. 

He received a cortisone shot on his right shoulder, but there are no plans for an MRI. 

Tillman is 15-5 with a 3.76 ERA. He first experienced discomfort on Aug. 12, the day after he won his 15th game, pitching seven innings at Oakland. 

He was bumped from a scheduled start on Aug. 17, and started on Saturday, and allowed six runs in two-plus innings against Houston. 

After the game he said he felt fine, but he tried to throw in the bullpen Tuesday afternoon, and it didn’t go well. 

MORE ORIOLES: GAUSMAN GETS 2ND STRAIGHT WIN AS O'S TOP NATIONALS

“I thought once it got loose it would really go away but it never really did, and that was my first time actually experiencing it while throwing. Last time, I was pretty sore right after my start, but after feeling it today, I’d much rather just get this behind us and get out in front of it so that way we’re not worried about it for the rest of the year,” Tillman said. 

“I would have liked to have had better results, or response, from the last outing, but it just didn’t respond very well. So we’re trying to be safe, get this thing in the rear-view mirror. That way I’m not fighting it all year. That’s probably the best way to go about it.”

Tillman hopes the DL stint, which hasn’t been announced and will be backdated to Sunday, will allow him to pitch pain-free for the last few weeks of the regular season.

“I would think so, yes, but you know what? I’m going to take it day-by-day. That’s the only thing I can do right now. Play it by ear,” Tillman said. 

“It’s tough. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. It happened, and we’ve got to get better now. I think this is the best way to go about it, and we had talked about it a little. I’d rather feel better at the end of the season rather than fighting it all year.” 

Adam Jones, who was traded with Tillman from Seattle to the Orioles in 2008, is confident the Orioles will be able to overcome his loss.

“We are going to miss him on the mound. He’s still going to be here every day. I look at it as a time for him to go heal. We are still going to keep fighting, grinding and when he comes back hopefully after the 15 days, mid-September, whenever he does, he comes back fresh and ready to make his last three or four starts in a tight race,” Jones said. 

“You can look at it both ways. I want him to heal, but I want I him to heal and get better so he definitely helps us in the final push because he’s that important to our staff.”

Ubaldo Jimenez will take Tillman's spot on Thursday in Washington.