Meneses hits 2-run HR in 8th as Nationals beat Cubs 6-5
CHICAGO (AP) — Joey Meneses hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, Keibert Ruiz went deep twice and the Washington Nationals regrouped after blowing a three-run lead, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-5 Tuesday night to snap a six-game losing streak.
The Nationals were rolling along with a 4-1 lead, thanks to Ruiz’s solo drive in the second and three-run shot in the fourth against Marcus Stroman. It was the first career multi-homer game for the 24-year-old Venezuelan.
Chicago got four RBI singles in a four-run seventh, with newcomer Franmil Reyes tying it and newcomer Nico Hoerner the go-ahead hit against Kyle Finnegan. But the Nationals regrouped.
Meneses came through against Mark Leiter Jr. (2-5) in the eighth, after Maikel Franco singled with one out and Yadiel Hernandez struck out. The 30-year-old rookie launched a drive to the left-field basket for his third homer in six major league games and second in as many nights, putting Washington back on top, 6-5.
“When I think about the minor leagues, all those years I spent down there,” Meneses said through an interpreter. “Being in this moment, just keep working and take advantage of this opportunity that I was given.”
The Cubs had a runner on second with two out in the bottom half when Carl Edwards Jr. came into the game and struck out Willson Contreras. He then worked the ninth for his first save this season and fourth since he debuted for Chicago in 2015.
Edwards, a member of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship team, gave up a one-out single to Seiya Suzuki, who was was caught stealing. Nelson Velázquez then walked before Nico Hoerner struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch.
“It felt great just being back out here at Wrigley, where they took me in under their wings and let me become who I am,” Edwards said following his first appearance against the Cubs.
Paolo Espino went five innings for Washington, allowing one run and six hits. Finnegan (3-2) got the win.
Suzuki homered leading off the second against Espino. He had three hits and scored two runs.
Rafael Ortega and Willson Contreras had RBI singles in the seventh. Ortega was also thrown out in the inning trying to score on Ian Happ’s line drive by center fielder Lane Thomas, who fired a one-hop strike to the plate.
Stroman labored through five innings, allowing four runs and five hits. The right-hander threw 90 pitches, struck out six and walked two following a string of strong starts. Stroman posted a 1.67 ERA in his previous five outings after missing a month because of inflammation in his right shoulder.
Reyes went 1 for 4 in his Chicago debut, a day after he was claimed off waivers from Cleveland.
Reyes said he was “a little bit surprised” the Guardians released him last week after optioning him to Triple-A. He was also “very thankful” for the opportunity they gave him following a trade from the Padres during the 2019 season.
The Nationals claimed veteran reliever Jake McGee off outright waivers from Milwaukee and designated outfielder Donovan Casey for assignment.
McGee signed with the Brewers on July 23, after he was released by San Francisco and posted a 6.35 ERA in six appearances. The left-hander was 32-27 with 79 saves and a 3.67 ERA over 13 seasons with Tampa Bay, Colorado, the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco and Milwaukee.
Nationals: DH Nelson Cruz exited after his second at-bat because of soreness in the back of his right shoulder.
Cubs: The Cubs remain unsure if RHP Kyle Hendricks (strained right shoulder) will pitch again this season. Though an MRI showed improvement, manager David Ross said there is still inflammation. Hendricks has not been throwing and will be reassessed in about a week. “I think my main thing is to get him back on the bump, throwing bullpens, and see how he feels,” Ross said. “I don’t think getting him back in games is a top priority for everyone. But if he is able to get to that space, I think that’s a win for everyone.”
The three-game series wraps up with Cubs LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.67 ERA) opposing Nationals RHP Josiah Gray (7-8, 4.92). Steele matched a career high with 10 strikeouts in just 4 2/3 innings in Chicago’s 2-1 win over Miami last week. Gray is 0-3 with an 8.53 in his past four starts.
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