Mark Trumbo made Baltimore's impressive June at the plate historic, launching the club's 55th homer of the month, as the Orioles completed a two-game sweep of the Padres with a 12-6 victory Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park.
Trumbo golfed a Christian Friedrich fastball into the second deck of the left-field seats, capping a four-run fourth inning that put the Orioles on top for good. With the two-run shot, Baltimore tied the 1996 A's for the most home runs by a single team in June.
The O's have hit their 55 home runs in 27 games, while it took the '96 A's 29 contests. The record for most in any month is 58, shared by the Orioles in May '87 and the Mariners in May '99. Baltimore will be in Seattle on Thursday for the first of a four-game series at Safeco Field, where the club will look to add to its already historic June.
"Some guys are aware, some aren't. Obviously, it's a special thing, but it's not something that anyone is going to gloat about or spend too much time thinking about," Trumbo said. "It just goes to show that we are on a nice little run."
Padres third baseman Brett Wallace provided the bulk of the offense for San Diego, launching a three-run shot to center in the sixth. But that was the only damage done against Orioles starter Yovani Gallardo, who tossed six strong frames, allowing just three hits and striking out six, while registering his first quality start of the season.
"I think the ball was coming out pretty good out of my hand," Gallardo said. "Even early in that first inning, I had a good slider going. I was able to locate it and just also my fastball felt pretty good coming out of my hand. Just locating those pitches allowed me to get some weak contact."
Friedrich, meanwhile, threw three perfect innings before coming undone in the fourth. He allowed six runs (four earned) over five innings and has now surrendered 14 earned runs in his past three starts after giving up just eight in his first six outings for the Padres. Trumbo's homer came on a 2-2 fastball that crossed the plate half a foot inside -- but with hardly any movement.
"It was supposed to be a two-seamer that ran at him and came back a little bit," Friedrich said. "The fact that it just kept staying there allowed him to really pull his hands in. It was a good piece of hitting, but if I'm not throwing 92 mph in there -- if it's 88 -- it's easier for him to make the adjustment."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED O's record power: It was only fitting for the first-place Orioles that Trumbo would deliver the record-tying blast, which traveled an estimated 410 feet. The O's slugger has a Major League-leading 23 homers and has been a big part of the team's impressive offense in his first season with the club. More >
"Jon [Schoop] was talking about this yesterday, they've really taken on this pass-the-baton [approach]. It's not selfish. It's that feeling that the weight of expectations is not just on me," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his team's offense. "... It's a product of everybody feeding off each other."
Green gets the gate: If we've learned anything from Padres manager Andy Green's two ejections this season, it's that there's some fire behind his typically even-keeled persona. Green got tossed Wednesday after a Friedrich throwing error gave the Orioles a 6-0 lead in the fifth. Green argued that Chris Davis had run outside of his lane to first base, where Wil Myers wasn't able to collect Friedrich's throw for the out.
"That's a very impactful play on the game," Green said. "And it's my job to fight on behalf of my players. I recognize it's a difficult call, there's a lot spinning. … I'm just staring at the baserunner, and in my eye in real time, it very much looked like he interfered with Wil's ability to catch the baseball."
Do not touch: With one on and one out in the fourth, Yangervis Solarte sent a fly ball down the left-field line toward the stands, where Orioles left fielder Joey Rickard raced toward the wall and slid. Except the ball never reached Rickard. Instead, a spectator in the first row snagged it out of mid-air, prompting third-base umpire Tony Randazzo to call fan interference. Green argued, but replay confirmed the ruling, making it clear that Rickard had a makeable play on the ball before it was interfered with.
"I was just hoping that they would think that a guy sliding into the wall probably isn't going to catch the baseball," Green said. "But it does, in a letter-of-the-law sense, impact his ability to catch the baseball. It removes his opportunity to catch it. I just don't know what the percentage chance is that that ball's caught."
QUOTABLE "Some things with Petco are maybe overblown at this point in time. Over the last couple years, it hasn't played as this difficult park to hit in. We've put up six or seven runs in the last couple days ourselves." -- Green, on the high-scoring games at Petco Park
"We're just feeding off each other. When you're going good, it's easier to do. When you're going bad, that's when you're really got to find yourself. Right now, it's easy. It's a little easier to come to the park [to] play, because we're playing well." --Adam Jones, on the O's current hot hitting
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Myers' ninth-inning double was his 21st extra-base hit in June, tying him with Greg Vaughn for the most by a Padres hitter in a single month. He finished June hitting .327/.430/.765 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs -- also a June record.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Baltimore will head to Seattle for a four-game series with Chris Tillman starting the opener at 10:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. The righty allowed six earned runs over five innings in a no-decision against Tampa Bay in his last start. Still, Tillman (10-1, 3.52 ERA) has been the O's ace this season.
Padres: After an off-day Thursday, the Padres continue their Interleague slate when they welcome the Yankees to town for a three-game set beginning Friday night at 7:40 p.m. PT.Colin Rea will take the hill for the Friars, in search of some efficiency after laboring through five innings in his most recent start.
Jose Altuve extended his on-base streak to 32 games, collecting four hits and finishing a home run short of the cycle as the red-hot Astros beat the Angels, 10-4, to complete a three-game road sweep on Wednesday -- their second straight sweep of their American League West rivals in the last week.
"I feel proud of myself because I'm doing everything I can to help my team," Altuve said. "It's all about your team, it's all about going to the playoffs at the end of the season, and I think we're going the right way."
Altuve singled in the first inning, tripled in the third and doubled in the fifth as the Astros kept the offensive pressure going against Angels right-hander Jered Weaver. Altuve added another single in a three-run ninth as Houston poured it on. Weaver gave up a George Springer home run in the sixth and became the first Angels pitcher to give up 20 homers this season, allowing six runs in 5 1/3 innings. The Halos have now lost nine of their last 10 games.
"I don't think these guys are taking losing in stride, and that's a positive, but it has to be tempered with filtering out some of the frustration that could easily creep into a clubhouse or a dugout," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Those guys seem like they're playing free and giving it everything they have, but the results aren't there."
Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel gave up a pair of runs in the second inning on a Jett Bandy home run and a Kole Calhoun RBI triple, then settled down to retire 11 of the last 13 batters he faced. Keuchel finished with a quality start, giving up three runs (two earned) in six innings as Houston won for the 10th time in its last 11 games.
The Astros now head home for 10 games before the All-Star break with a chance to continue their run.
"We're playing well and it sets up pretty well for us," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The day off tomorrow is much needed. We had a great road trip [5-1] and we go home with a lot of confidence. We're going to run into some tough pitching, I know, but we continue to do our thing and handle our business and we're getting the results we like. It's time to get back to Houston."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Altuve can't stop, won't stop: Altuve, who went 4-for-5 with four runs scored and extended his hitting streak to 11 games, has the longest on-base streak by an Astros player since Lance Berkman reached in 37 games in a row in the 2004 season. Wednesday marked Altuve's 12th game this season with at least three hits, and it's the second time in a week he finished a hit shy of the cycle. He's batting .431 (50-for-116) in the last 29 games.
"The story continues with him," Hinch said. "We continue to talk about him every single day and he continues to perform. Not much you can do to get in his way. He's had a remarkable run here." More >
Leaving friends behind: For the second consecutive game, the Angels struggled to drive home runners in scoring position. Their first three runs came on a solo homer and a pair of extra-base hits to drive runners home from first base. Twice -- once in the first inning and once in the seventh -- they loaded the bases, but weren't able to score a single run. They went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base, including six who were in scoring position.
Keuchel finds quality: This season has been a struggle for Keuchel, but the lefty has won consecutive starts for the first time in 2016. By allowing three runs in six innings Wednesday, he earned his third straight quality start -- and ninth in 17 outings -- and beat the Angels for the ninth time in his career, his most wins against any club.
"I felt good," he said. "The fastball had a lot of life on it, and it's just one of those days I was trying to figure out where I needed to start the fastball and it took me a little bit, but I got it under control an I finished strong."
Not so sharp: Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, typically known for his stellar defense, committed two errors that led to runs. In the third, he leaped to snag a Marwin Gonzalez liner for an impressive grab, but his throw to first for the double play hit off Springer and allowed him to advance and eventually score on Altuve's triple. Simmons had a Carlos Correa grounder go between his legs and allow two runs to score in the fifth as well, appealing that the ball had struck Altuve on the basepaths and changed the course of the ball. His appeal was denied, and the error stood. It was Simmons' first two-error game since Sept. 16, 2015, while he was with the Braves, and the fifth of his career.
"Something looked really strange," Scioscia said of Simmons' second error. "Andrelton was there and knows it hit [Altuve], and it did hit him, but I guess it wasn't noticeable to the umpires. It was tough to see from our vantage point, but obviously Andrelton had a great vantage point and he saw the ball. It's a tough call to make for an umpire."
QUOTABLE "We are going to play better. We all believe it. The chemistry in that clubhouse is terrific. We know we've seen some guys performing at their absolute worst for this first half, and we know they're better than that. That's our goal, to get these guys playing better."-- Scioscia, on stopping his team's recent slide
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS This is the first time the Astros have swept the same opponent twice in one season since joining the AL in 2013.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: The Astros are off Thursday before opening a three-game series at 7:10 p.m. CT Friday against the White Sox at Minute Maid Park, with right-hander Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.41 ERA) taking the mound. Fiers gave up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings Saturday in Kansas City.
Angels: The Angels will have an off-day on Thursday, then travel to Boston for the first game of a three-game set on Friday. Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (3-6, 5.64 ERA) hasn't gone more than 5 1/3 innings in a start since May 30, but he will take the ball in the opener. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PT.
Aaron Sanchez twirled eight strong innings and the Blue Jays held off a late rally by the Rockies for a 5-3 victory on Wednesday to win their first series at Coors Field.
Sanchez held the Rockies to one run on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The 30 batters he faced tied a career high. The only damage off of him came in the fourth inning, when Daniel Descalso drove in Nolan Arenado after a leadoff single. Sanchez did well to escape a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, coaxing a double-play ball out of pinch-hitterRyan Raburn.
"You come into Colorado and you hear about the ball and what it does," Sanchez said. "Today, after what happened last night, I tried to keep my pitch count as low as I could going through the whole game. I did feel like I had everything working today. Mostly sinkers as it normally is, but when I needed to throw offspeed, I felt like it was there."
"I really like what I see with Tyler," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It's a shame he doesn't have a big league win yet. He's going to get plenty up here pitching like that. But I really like the entire package. The makeup, the feel to pitch, the pitch mix, the changeup he can throw at any time. The ability to put sequences together. He's done an outstanding job for us, he really has. He's given us a lift."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Donaldson does it again: Donaldson had a key three-run triple during Toronto's 13-9 victory over the Rockies on Tuesday night, and less than 24 hours later, he was up to his old tricks once again. This time, it was a solo home run with two outs in the third inning off Anderson. According to Statcast™, Donaldson's 18th of the year was projected to travel 391 feet and left his bat at 99 mph. Encarnacion immediately followed with a double, and Tulowitzki added an RBI single to cap the two-run frame.
"For the most part, I feel like I've been having a pretty good approach at the plate, so I'm not changing too much," Donaldson said, when asked if there are any adjustments to Coors Field. "I would have liked to hit the ball in the air a little bit more, but it's not really something you can force all of the time. A lot of it has to do with the types of pitches you're seeing and locations. For the most part, I think they pitched me pretty well, but I was able to take what they gave me this series."
Anderson gets out of jam: The Rockies saved two runs when a second-inning call was overturned on replay. Sanchez hit a soft grounder to the left of first baseman Mark Reynolds, which Anderson chased after. His roundabout route to first caused him to arrive at nearly the same time as Sanchez, and they collided as Anderson caught the ball. The first-base umpire initially ruled Sanchez safe, and Kevin Pillar and Lake scored, but the call was quickly overturned.
"That would've been a two-run play if the runner was safe," Weiss said. "Anderson kind of got in no-man's land chasing the ball and then tried to get back to the base and ended up in the middle of the bag and had a collision. But it was a big out at the time."
The Great Lake: Lake got a rare start in right field on Wednesday afternoon, and the reserve outfielder made the most of his opportunity. With runners on first and second in the second inning, Lake hit an RBI double to right field as the Blue Jays took an early 1-0 lead. It was Lake's third hit in seven at-bats since he was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo late last week.
Too little, too late: The Rockies brought only two batters over the minimum to the plate from the fifth through the eighth innings, but their offense reignited in the final frame against Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna. Reynolds and Descalso hit back-to-back RBI doubles, butCristhian Adames struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.
"We had a couple opportunities to score runs," Adames said. "We didn't swing like we should have. You see how important it becomes. I think we've got a good offensive team, so the next time we should do that."
QUOTABLE "Ever since the last day in New York, it hasn't been good. We're competing, we're swinging the bat well. Obviously, our pitchers are competing, just giving up a little too many runs. We've been making great comebacks. We're doing a great job fighting, but it ain't gonna last long, especially when you face a guy like today. He's got a good arm, a good sinker, and it was just tough. It was a disappointing homestand." -- Arenado More >
"I don't know, maybe go get a massage." -- Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole, who reached base three times and has a rare opportunity this week to play in back-to-back games asRussell Martin gets a short break
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Encarnacion has 30 RBIs in June, which is tied for second all time in franchise history for the month with John Olerud and Jose Bautista. Carlos Delgado drove in 34 in 2003.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW The Rockies challenged a seventh-inning call that Donaldson was safe on Arenado's tag at third base. The umpires overturned the call, ruling that Arenado applied the tag, which took away a potential bases-loaded, one-out situation for the Blue Jays.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-8, 4.23 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays open a four-game series against the Indians on Thursday night at Rogers Centre. Dickey allowed four home runs during his last outing against the White Sox, but he still came away with a victory because Toronto scored 10 runs. Cleveland will counter with right-handerCarlos Carrasco, who tossed a four-hit shutout vs. Detroit in his last start.
Rockies:Jorge De La Rosa gets the call against the Dodgers on Friday at 8:10 p.m. MT at Dodger Stadium. He has earned the win in his last four appearances, including three straight starts since being reinstated to the rotation. He has a 2.12 ERA in those three outings compared to an 11.41 ERA in his first six starts.
Miguel Cabrera haunted his old squad once again with his second home run in as many days, complementing a four-run first inning as the Tigers posted a 10-3 win over the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Steven Moya and Jarrod Saltalamacchia added back-to-back solo homers in the fifth to earn Detroit a sweep of the four-game season series. The Tigers took two games at Marlins Park to open the season, then two in Detroit to close out a 6-3 homestand. The Marlins, who came to town having taken three of four from the Cubs and nine of their past 14 overall, lost consecutive games against the same opponent for the first time since June 11-12 at Arizona.
The Tigers put up four hits and three runs before Miami starter Tom Koehler (6-7) struck out Moya for his first out of the afternoon. Koehler left after three innings and 90 pitches, having surrendered five runs on eight hits, before Cabrera, Moya and Saltalamacchia homered offDustin McGowan.
"I don't think he was really commanding his offspeed pitches the way he wanted to," Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler said of Koehler. "I thought he actually threw the ball OK. We worked a couple walks out of him in the first there. And honestly, the first inning was our big inning. After that, he kind of settled down a little bit. We got to him early, and it was a good first inning for us."
Adeiny Hechavarria's second-inning RBI triple had the makings of a Marlins rally, but Tigers starter Daniel Norris (1-0) overcame a high pitch count to last five innings with a career-high eight strikeouts.
"You get behind the eight ball early," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "A lot of pitches for Tom. The four runs [in the first], but it's really after that that hurt us because we come back and get two. At that point we're back in the game. We give one right back [in the second], and it just seemed we didn't do anything from that point forward. We got some hits, but the at-bats got sloppy. We were unable to stop them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cabrera crushes again: The Marlins were the last Major League team to give up a Cabrera homer, but he made up for lost time with two in less than 24 hours. His drive Wednesday off McGowan's 95-mph fastball hit off the brick wall behind the left-field seats, an estimated 459-foot drive, according to Statcast™. It was career homer No. 426 for Miggy, tying him with Billy Williams on the all-time list.
Norris finds big outs with K's: The Marlins sapped 76 pitches out of Norris through three innings, and 100 pitches over five, but never got the big hit they needed. Norris' big escape wasn't a groundout -- he didn't record any until the fourth -- but the strikeout. He stranded two runners in the first with back-to-back called third strikes on Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton, then fanned Christian Yelich with two on in the second. Eight of Norris' first 10 outs came by strikeout, five of them called third strikes.
"Early on, I was just trying to throw get-me-over fastballs, which were missing," Norris said. "Later on, I was really letting the ball go, challenging the guys." More >
Ichiro's quest for 3,000: The Marlins had some things to cheer about at the plate, likeMartin Prado's four singles. But looking at the bigger picture, Ichiro Suzuki had two singles and now sits at 2,988 hits, just 12 shy of becoming the 30th player in MLB history to reach 3,000. In the second inning, the 42-year-old delivered an RBI single, which at the time trimmed the Miami deficit to 4-2. And in the eighth inning, Ichiro had a single to center off lefty Kyle Ryan. Next on the all-time list is Roberto Clemente (3,000).
Ichiro now has 16 multihit games on the season.
Koehler's first-inning woes: For the second straight start, Koehler has been roughed up in the first inning. In both starts, the right-hander has allowed four runs in the first frame. The Tigers sent nine to the plate on Wednesday in a 46-pitch inning. The first six batters reached, and Koehler's first out came on his 33rd pitch. In his previous start, on June 24 in a no-decision against the Cubs, he also gave up four in the first inning. Koehler's ERA in the first has now risen to 7.31 in 16 starts. And eight of his 13 earned runs allowed in the inning have come in his last two starts.
"I don't know if I ever did get settled, unfortunately," Koehler said. "They're a quality lineup, and they found some holes early that really made me work and got my pitch count up. When you throw  pitches in the first, it's tough to get deep into games." More >
QUOTABLE "I'm disappointed. [Tuesday] night we had chances all over the place and don't get it done early, and then they jump us and we're kind of done. We don't really get it done. Today, we get behind early, but we get right back in it and just don't do anything after that. A little disappointing. But there is no time for that. We have to go play. That's basically how we have to look at it, get moving. If there are changes that need to be made, we make changes in certain areas, and that's all there is to it." -- Mattingly, on tough two days in Detroit
"We haven't played our best against Cleveland. That's one team. We still have a lot of games to play. We've been playing really good baseball lately, and outside that, it was an excellent homestand. A 6-3 homestand you'll take every time. Obviously, we want to play well against Cleveland, but it's not that simple." -- Kinsler, on Tigers' homestand
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Koehler is the second Major League pitcher this season to throw 90 or more pitches in three innings or fewer. The other, Pittsburgh's Juan Nicasio, also did so against the Tigers, tossing 94 pitches over three innings on April 12.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: The Marlins open a four-game series with the Braves on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Turner Field. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 5.00 ERA) gets the ball for Miami.
Tigers: Detroit hits the road for an 11-game, three-city road trip to close out the season's first half, beginning Thursday with a 7:10 p.m. ET matchup against the Rays at Tropicana Field.Jordan Zimmermann (9-4, 3.81 ERA) takes the mound for the Tigers opposite Jake Odorizzi.
Following two games where they took early leads before seeing the Reds tighten matters, the Cubs scored first and never looked back on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park. Three home runs, including an inside-the-park homer by Anthony Rizzo, and plenty of add-on runs kept them trucking for a 9-2 victory over the Reds and a three-game series sweep.
Rizzo made it 3-0 three batters into the game against rookie lefty Cody Reed when his drive to left-center field had Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall converging. The ball skipped off of Duvall's glove into Hamilton's face and put the center fielder down, forcing him from the game. It was ruled a hit by the official scorer.
"He's making some flat fastball mistakes over the plate and throwing a lot of fastballs in fastball counts," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Reed. "These guys are putting them on the barrel right now. He'll make his adjustments."
That made for a smooth afternoon for Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who gave up two earned runs, eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts. A two-run fourth inning got Cincinnati on the scoreboard with a leadoff homer from Duvall and pinch-hitter Zack Cozart's RBI groundout that scored Eugenio Suarez. The Reds have lost seven of their last eight games.
"I thought his last two innings were his best stuff," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Combination of his command really got better, his aggressiveness in the zone got better and it looked like he normally does in the beginning part of the game. He was really good today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED There's Almora where that came from: Almora's first career homer traveled 399 feet and came off the bat at 103 mph, according to Statcast™. Called up in early June with Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler on the DL, the Cubs' No 5 prospect got the start Wednesday as Jason Heyward received a routine day of rest. Almora added a fine diving catch in center field to rob Brandon Phillips of a hit in the seventh inning. More >
Rough day for Reed: The third big league start of Reed's career was easily his worst as he allowed seven earned runs and nine hits over four innings with three homers. Ranked as theNo. 3 prospect in the organization and No. 59 in baseball by MLBPipeline.com, the 23-year-old had never allowed more than six earned runs in four Minor League seasons. He is now 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA.
"I just didn't throw a lot of first-pitch strikes," Reed said. "You make mistakes to the guys in that lineup and they're going to do it to you. I've got to be better next time out and be a little more fine with myself and just stay within myself throughout the outing."
Rizzo around the bases: Rizzo's first-inning line drive to left-center ended up as his first career inside-the-park home run and his 19th homer of the season, tying him with Milwaukee's Chris Carter for the lead among National League first basemen. Rizzo didn't come hard out of the box, expecting it to be caught, but he picked it up to a top speed of 18.6 mph and made it around the bases in 17.5 seconds, according to Statcast™. It's the first Cubs inside-the-park homer since Tony Campana on Aug. 5, 2011, which also came against the Reds. More >
"Right when it hit off of him, it kicked in," Rizzo said. "Turned on my speed and turned the jets on. Yeah, even if [third-base coach Gary] Jones is holding me up there, I was probably still just going to truck through it."
Duvall powering All-Star bid? Duvall's homer in the fourth gave him 22 for the season and moved him back into a tie for the Major League lead. The home run traveled 397 feet into the left-field seats, according to Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 100 mph. Among a lot Cubs fans sitting in left field -- adhering to a Wrigley Field tradition -- someone threw the ball back.
QUOTABLE "Again, up and down the lineup, understand, a bunch of babies played in that game today and they did a wonderful job there. Inexperienced, they're young, they came out and they played hard and they played really well." -- Maddon, on the youth of his lineup
CUBS SQUEEZE BUNT WITH SIX-RUN LEAD Already ahead, 8-2, after a run scored in the top of the seventh, Hendricks laid down a squeeze bunt toward the mound that easily scored Matt Szczur with an extra run.
"I think different managers have different philosophies about what is a comfortable lead, and I will really leave it at that," Price said.
Beginning the top of the eighth inning, Reds reliever Jumbo Diaz hit Kris Bryant with a pitch, but no warnings were issued.
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs: The Cubs start a four-game series against the Mets on Thursday. John Lackey (7-4, 3.29 ERA) takes the ball for Chicago in the 6:10 p.m. CT start at Citi Field in the first game between the Cubs and Mets since the 2015 NL Championship Series.
Reds: An 11-day, 10-game road trip to cap the first half begins at 7:05 p.m. ET Thursday, when Brandon Finnegan starts the opener of a four-game series against Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals and Nationals Park.