Thru 3: A bizarre start

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The empirical recap of the first three innings — Orioles lead the Nats 1-0 — doesn’t do much justice to what’s happened in the first three innings here tonight.

First, Justin Maxwell made one of the best defensive plays you’ll see from the Nationals this year to take away Adam Jones’ homer in the first. He scaled the wall and reached over the center-field fence to snatch the ball back, a la Torii Hunter or Ken Griffey in his Mariners days. Maxwell is 6-foot-5, and I’m not sure anybody else the Nationals have put in center field this year makes that catch.

The Orioles responded with a pair of diving stops of their own in the first inning, robbing a pair of base hits that might have put the Nationals on the board. Things got really strange from there.

Baltimore scored its only run on a Nick Markakis grounder to short with two outs in the third inning. Ryan Zimmerman swooped in front of Cristian Guzman like a cornerback jumping a sideline route, but when he turned to throw to second, Willie Harris was nowhere to be found. For some reason, he had ran toward first base, and Zimmerman didn’t have time to make a play anywhere. So the Orioles scored a run.

Then, the Nationals loaded the bases on an Adam Dunn single to first base—no, make that off of first base. His grounder spiked off the bag, shot into the air and was caught in the air by Ty Wiggington, but there was no one covering first to take a throw. But Austin Kearns grounded out to end the inning.

And now Koji Uehara has just come out of the game with left hamstring soreness.

Ross Detwiler hasn’t been sharp—he loaded the bases on three walks in the third inning, which led to the Markakis single. But the Markakis single is the only hit he’s given up.

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