WASHINGTON (AP) — Joey Meneses hit a game-winning three-run homer in the 10th inning to cap his first four-hit game as the Washington Nationals rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics 7-5 Thursday night.
Meneses homered to right-center off Oakland rookie Norge Ruiz (0-1), raising his average to .354.
Shea Langeliers homered and drove in three runs for the A’s. Oakland starter Ken Waldichuk, acquired last month in a deal that sent Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino to the New York Yankees, made his major league debut and allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings.
The 30-year-old Meneses spent 12 seasons in the minors before the Nationals called him up after dealing Josh Bell and Juan Soto and the trade deadline, and he has hit seven home runs in 25 games.
Now, he has Washington’s first game-ending hit of the season.
“It was very significant for me,” Meneses said. “All those years of playing in the minor leagues to get to this point and doing it at this moment and on this stage, it’s just something I’m going to enjoy very much.”
The Nationals’ last game-ending homer was Yadiel Hernandez’s shot against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 1, 2021.
Trailing 5-3 heading into the bottom of the 10th, the Nationals closed within 5-4 on Keibert Ruiz’s run-scoring single with one out. Lane Thomas walked with two outs, setting the stage for Meneses. He fell behind 0-2, evened the count and then blasted a slider to end it.
“We’re going to continue to preach early outs and getting ahead of hitters and being able to finish,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “And that’s been a little bit of our nemesis this year, being able to finish, and it caught up to us again.”
Meneses has 35 hits, the most ever for a Nationals rookie through 25 games. The right fielder also had singles in the first, third and seventh.
“We’ve been watching him all year, even in (Triple-A) Rochester, and he’s been hitting all year long,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “Nothing’s changed. That’s one thing I keep reiterating to him: Nothing changes when you come up here. You drove the ball to right field, left field. Just do the same thing and stay on the ball. He’s been awesome.”
Hunter Harvey, the Nationals’ sixth reliever in the game, retired the first two hitters in the top of the 10th before walking Vimael Machín. Langeliers then doubled off the fence in right-center, scoring Machín and automatic runner Sheldon Neuse.
Harvey (1-0) earned his first victory since Aug. 20, 2019.
Waldichuk quickly found himself behind 1-0 when Thomas laced his first pitch to left for a double and Meneses added a run-scoring single. But, despite getting five hits and four walks against the left-hander, Washington didn’t score again. The Nationals stranded five runners in scoring position in the first three innings.
Waldichuk struck out six, the most for an Oakland starting pitcher in his major league debut since Dallas Braden had six on April 24, 2007, at Baltimore.
“He did a nice job for his first outing,” Kotsay said. “He got himself out of a couple jams early and made his pitches when he had to. He obviously got into some deep counts, which limited the innings he could go. But overall, I thought he threw enough strikes. He had some foul balls, which strikeout pitchers will accumulate. Going forward, it’s a learning curve for him and we’ll build off this one.”
Oakland took a 3-1 lead in the seventh on RBI singles by Tony Kemp and Seth Brown. Washington got one back on Nelson Cruz’s run-scoring grounder later in the inning, then tied it on Ildemaro Vargas’ RBI single in the eighth.
Washington starter Paolo Espino yielded five hits and one run — Langeliers’ solo homer to lead off the fifth — in five innings while striking out a season-high six.
Athletics: In addition to adding Waldichuk, Oakland recalled OF Cody Thomas from Triple-A Las Vegas and designated RHP David McKay for assignment. Thomas singled in the fifth for his first hit in the majors.
Nationals: Washington recalled C Tres Barrera and RHP Mason Thompson from Rochester.
Athletics: LHP JP Sears (5-1, 2.28 ERA), who is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA in four starts with Oakland, gets the nod Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Baltimore.
Nationals: RHP Josiah Gray (7-8, 4.67) pitches for the first time since Aug. 20 as Washington faces the New York Mets to begin a three-city, 10-game trip.
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