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Meneses hits inside-the-park homer, Nats beat Marlins 5-4

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Joey Meneses hit an inside-the-park home run, Ildemaro Vargas had a go-ahead double in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied to beat the Miami Marlins 5-4 on Friday night.

Washington snapped a five-game losing streak, beating Miami at home for the first time in eight tries this season. The Nationals are 2-12 overall against the Marlins.

Meneses, a 30-year-old rookie, is hitting .323 with nine homers and 23 RBIs in 38 games since debuting Aug. 2.

“I can’t say enough about the guy,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He keeps hitting.”

Lewin Díaz homered for Miami. The Marlins have lost six of eight and 15 of 19.

Marlins reliever Cole Sulser (1-4) entered a 4-4 game in the eighth and walked Meneses and allowed Luke Voit’s single with one out. Vargas then lashed a shot to left-center that bounced over the wall and brought in Meneses to give Washington its first lead.

Carl Edwards Jr. (6-3) pitched a scoreless eighth for the Nationals. Kyle Finnegan handled the ninth for his ninth save in 13 attempts.

Miami starter Jesús Luzardo took a 4-0 lead into the seventh when Meneses hit one off the wall in center. It caromed off a leaping JJ Bleday and trickled down the warning track toward right, allowing Meneses time to round the bases.

“It really surprised me,” Meneses said. “As I was running to third, I never thought it would be an inside-the-park home run.”

It was the eighth inside-the-park homer in Nationals history and the first since Andrew Stevenson on Sept. 26, 2020.

“He stopped at third, and that’s a tough thing to do really, to stop and get your momentum back and keep going,” Martinez said. “He went and I told him ‘Tomorrow when you read the paper, it’s going to say HR on there no matter what.’”

Luzardo’s night ended a batter later when he walked Voit. Reliever Tanner Scott issued two more walks and yielded Victor Robles’ sacrifice fly. CJ Abrams then laced a two-run triple past a diving Brian Anderson in right to tie it.

Luzardo surrendered two runs and five hits in six innings while striking out six.

The Marlins had three hits in the eighth, but Edwards picked off pinch runner Luke Williams for the second out and right fielder Lane Thomas easily threw out Miguel Rojas at third to end the inning.

“If you get beat, it’s one thing,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “But when you don’t play solid baseball, when you’re giving free bases and giving free outs, those are things you don’t want to do. You are what you are and we are where we’re at, but you still want to play solid baseball.”

After breezing through the first inning in six pitches, Washington starter Josiah Gray gave up a single and a double to begin the second, and Bryan De La Cruz and Rojas followed with RBI groundouts. Jordan Groshans walked and Díaz crushed a first-pitch fastball to right-center to make it 4-0.

Gray allowed four runs and struck out four in five innings. He has allowed a majors-leading 37 homers this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: DH Nelson Cruz (eye inflammation) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game and remains day to day. … RHP Cade Cavalli (shoulder inflammation) will be shut down for 3-7 days after reporting pain upon throwing Wednesday from about 60 feet. Cavalli received a cortisone shot.

UP NEXT

Marlins: LHP Trevor Rogers (4-11, 5.35 ERA) has not won in seven starts since beating Washington on July 1, but does have a 2.95 ERA in three starts since returning from the injured list last month.

Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (6-10, 5.24) is 4-1 with a 1.86 ERA in nine lifetime starts against Miami, though the loss came April 27 at Nationals Park.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

By PATRICK STEVENS
Associated Press

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