WASHINGTON (AP) — Dean Kremer gave the Baltimore Orioles an excellent start on a night when nothing less would suffice.
Kremer pitched impressively into the seventh inning and Austin Hays singled home the game’s only run in the fourth to lift the Orioles to a 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night. It was a quiet game for a Baltimore offense that has carried the team at times early this season, but Kremer and the bullpen picked up the slack.
“Our offense has been doing an amazing job scoring runs,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We haven’t played many 1-0 ballgames, and sometimes you have to win that way.”
Kremer (1-0) worked out of a second-and-third, nobody-out jam in the third, and that was as close as the Nationals came to scoring on the right-hander. He allowed only four hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out six without a walk.
Danny Coulombe got the final out of the seventh, Yennier Cano breezed through the eighth and Félix Bautista pitched the ninth for his fifth save. The Nationals had the tying run on second when Bautista retired Keibert Ruiz on a groundout to end it.
Josiah Gray (0-4) yielded a run and four hits in five-plus innings and was a hard-luck loser again despite lowering his ERA to 3.74. The Nationals have managed only one run in the four games he’s started, and that was in the ninth inning April 1 against Atlanta — well after his outing ended that day.
Kremer allowed 13 runs in his first three starts, but he was excellent against Washington, which has lost five of six.
“Of course there was frustration,” Kremer said. “Any time you come out on the bottom side and you see your ERA blow up, it kind of hurts — but not to lose kind of faith in where you’re going.”
In the third, a throwing error by third baseman Gunnar Henderson left men on second and third with no outs. Kremer responded by striking out the top three hitters in the Nationals’ batting order.
“He knew that we needed some punchouts right there, and he went after it,” Hyde said. “I like the way he elevated his fastball tonight. He’s got an ability to do that more often and took advantage of it tonight.”
Ryan Mountcastle led off the fourth with a single, and one out later Adam Frazier drew a walk. That brought up Hays, whose single put the Orioles up 1-0.
In Gray’s past three starts, the Nationals have lost 1-0 at Colorado, 2-0 at the Los Angeles Angels and 1-0 to the Orioles.
“I know we’re going to break through here soon,” Gray said. “I’m just going out there and thinking about the team and trying to put up zeros as much as I can.”
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was at the game and received a nice ovation from the crowd when he was shown on the big screen.
Orioles: INF Ramón Urías did not play, but Hyde said he had passed all his tests and was available off the bench. Urías was hit in the helmet by a pitch Saturday and went into concussion protocol.
Nationals: OF Corey Dickerson (left calf strain) may do some agility drills this week as he works toward running again. … INF Ildemaro Vargas (right shoulder strain) did some soft-toss hitting Tuesday.
MacKenzie Gore (2-0) takes the mound for the Nationals in the finale of this two-game series Wednesday night. The Orioles had yet to announce a starter.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.