By Sam Bush
Cole Sulser and Miguel Castro protected an unexpected lead and the Orioles rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Nationals.
A two-on, no-out rally fizzled in the fifth, but pinch-hitters Pat Valaika and Pedro Severino went back-to-back in the eighth off Sean Doolittle to push him further into his slump. Valaika has 19 career homers and six have come off the bench.
Hudson walked Austin Hays, Hanser Alberto singled and Santander, batting from the left side, drove a 97 mph fastball to the opposite field for a 5-3 lead.
“I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit,” Santander said. “I got a good swing.”
Doolittle had surrendered two runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings before tonight. The Orioles did a lot against him in a short amount of time.
The Orioles were on the verge of being shut out for the third time in six games, but they improved to 7-7.
Sulser struck out Eric Thames to strand two runners in scoring position in the eighth. Castro earned his first save of the summer and seventh of his career after issuing a one-out walk in the ninth inning. He struck out two.
Manager Brandon Hyde said Sulser, due to his inactivity, was handling the eighth inning no matter the situation.
“I hadn’t thrown him in five days, so he was pitching in this game regardless,” Hyde said.
“I really needed him to pitch tonight. I didn’t want him to sit for six, and I think it showed in his rustiness a little bit. I’ve got to not do that. I’ve got to get him out there more often, but he battled. I would have considered sending him back out for the ninth if it was a quick inning, but it was a 30-pitch inning, so then I went with Miggy.”