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MLB Power Rankings: The Beltway gets well represented

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MLB Power Rankings: The Beltway gets well represented

It's a great time to live near the Beltway, which is probably the first time in the highway/parking lot's history that people can say that. 20 games into the season, and both the Nationals and Orioles find themselves among the league's elite. Baltimore's dominance has been more surprising, given that their starting pitching was supposed to be terrible and is instead just average. That doesn't sound encouraging, but go ask an Orioles' fan if, before the season, they'd have taken a year of average starting pitching. The Nats look like a real contender once again, and Ryan Zimmerman's resurgence would be the most talked about part of this Nats season if it wasn't overshadowed by Bryce Harper's resurgence. How have the other 28 teams fared through the early part of the season? To the rankings! 

30. ATLANTA BRAVES
The Dansby Swanson Era has gotten off to a rocky start. Some time in the 8-hole might help. 

29. TORONTO BLUE JAYS
What a historically brutal start. At this point, they have to play .600 baseball for the rest of the year to even get to 90 wins. 

28. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Madison Bumgarner is out for two months after injuring himself in one of the most Madison Bumgarner ways possible, so crawling out of the NL West basement is only going to get harder. 

27. PITTSBURGH PIRATES
The Marte suspension was shocking, and now the Pirates have to compete all summer against the Cubs and Cardinals without one of their best outfielders. 

26. SEATTLE MARINERS
James Paxton has looked like an ace, which is great because Felix Hernandez has not. 

25. KANSAS CITY ROYALS
That window sure closed quickly, didn't it?

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE

 

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Homers by Mancini and Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2

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USA TODAY Sports

Homers by Mancini and Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2

BALTIMORE -- Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop homered in succession off knuckleballer Steven Wright, Jayson Aquino won his first big league start and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.

Baltimore will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday. The Orioles have not lost a series this year and own the best record in the majors (12-4).

Aquino (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings to earn his first career victory. The 24-year-old lefty previously pitched three times in relief, all last year with Baltimore.

Mychal Givens followed with two perfect innings, Donnie Hart got two outs in the ninth and Darren O'Day finished for his first save.

Jackie Bradley Jr. homered for the Red Sox, who were without injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Wright (1-2) gave up four runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. Just 10 days earlier, the right-hander got only four outs and yielded eight runs against Baltimore at Fenway Park.

Bradley put the Red Sox up 2-0 in the third with his first home run, a shot onto Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard. Boston came in with only seven home runs, fewest in the big leagues.

Limited to three singles over the first three innings, Baltimore hit two singles, two doubles and two homers in a four-run fourth.

Chris Davis doubled and Mancini and Schoop homered before Adam Jones chased Wright with an RBI single.

It was Mancini's team-high fifth long ball of the year. He has eight homers in 17 big league games over two seasons.

More Orioles: WAS MANNY MACHADO'S SLIDE INTO DUSTIN PEDROIA DIRTY?​

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Orioles routed in series opener against Reds

Orioles routed in series opener against Reds

CINCINNATI -- After missing two entire seasons, 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo got himself back in the win column Tuesday night.

Adam Duvall hit his first career grand slam, Joey Votto had a two-run shot and Arroyo got his first victory in almost three years, helping the Cincinnati Reds beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-3.

Arroyo (1-2) allowed three runs in five innings, including Adam Jones' two-run homer in the fifth. The victory was Arroyo's first since June 15, 2014, for Arizona against the Dodgers. That was his last appearance before elbow and shoulder injuries knocked him out of action until this month. The longtime Red got his first win with Cincinnati since Sept. 22, 2013.

"I have to be Houdini, just being out of the game for 2 1/2 years," Arroyo said. "Hardly anybody comes back from elbow and shoulder surgeries, let alone both in the same year. I'm encouraged by tonight. I felt a little crisper with the sinker and the breaking ball. It was huge to get the lead. I was able to attack the zone. I didn't need to worry about a two-run homer."

The right-hander became the first Cincinnati pitcher to win at his age since 40-year-old Boom-Boom Beck beat the Phillies 8-1 on May 31, 1945.

Manager Bryan Price might've been happier for Arroyo than Arroyo himself.

"You have no idea how thrilled I am for Bronson," said the former Reds pitching coach, who logged his 500th game as Cincinnati's manager. "Bronson is one of my favorite relationships I had with a player. We always stayed in touch, in the offseason when he was here and in-season and the offseason after he left. I really value him as a person. It is a relationship that transcends the coach-player relationship."

In both teams' first interleague game of the season, Duvall snapped an 0-for-13 slump with a first-inning sacrifice fly and his fourth homer of the season in a five-run second inning, Cincinnati's highest-scoring frame of the season. The Reds sent nine batters to the plate in the second, and Duvall tied a career-high with five RBIs.

Votto lined a shot to right field off Vidal Nuno in the third for his fourth homer of the season.

Cincinnati bounced back after losing three of four at home to Milwaukee.

Billy Hamilton singled in each of his first two at-bats to snap an 0-for-14 slump, one short of matching the longest hitless stretch of his career, and Jose Peraza doubled just before Votto's homer to stop an 0-for-9 skid.

Peraza walked in his first two plate appearances and scored a run in each of the first three innings. His double knocked right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-1) out of the game after 2 2/3 innings. Gausman allowed eight runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out two.

"I think my front hip was coming open and I couldn't drive my four-seamer down-and-away," Gausman said. "Today was like my first two starts, where the ball was coming back to the middle of the plate."

The Reds scored all their runs in the first three innings. Nine runs are the most allowed by Baltimore this season.