Reviewed call aids Nats’ rally in 7-6 win over Guardians

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON – Washington tied the game on a reviewed call in the eighth inning, Joey Meneses followed with a go-ahead RBI single two batters later, and the Nationals defeated the Cleveland Guardians 7-6 on Sunday to avert a three-game sweep.

Jeimer Candelario and Luis García homered for Washington, which won at home for only the second time in nine tries this season. The Nationals had lost four in a row by a combined six runs.

“That could turn your month around, turn the season around just to get the momentum in your favor and say ‘Hey, boys, we can win these close games,’” left fielder Stone Garrett said.

Steven Kwan drove in two runs for the Guardians, who fell to 7-3 on the road.

In the eighth, plate umpire Ryan Blakney initially called Garrett out at home while tagging on Lane Thomas‘ one-out fly to center, but replay officials ruled catcher Mike Zunino was blocking the plate and allowed the run to count and tie it at 6.

“It was a close call, but there was no doubt I was going to challenge the whole play,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “It was that close. We had to take a chance.”

Garrett said he knew Zunino was blocking the plate as he ran home from third and tried to slide around the catcher’s foot rather than collide with Zunino.

“I understand why they do it, (but) I still think it puts the catcher in a tough spot because the game’s going fast,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “Z’s contention is that as soon as he saw the hop, he maneuvers to make the play. I really understand that. I don’t think when you slow it down, that is fair to the player.”

Trevor Stephan relieved Nick Sandlin (1-1) after the replay ruling and walked Dominic Smith. Meneses then poked a single to right to drive in CJ Abrams.

Mason Thompson (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Kyle Finnegan handled the ninth for his third save.

Cleveland scored four runs in the third against Washington starter Patrick Corbin, starting with consecutive doubles and then Myles Straw reaching on an Abrams error. Kwan followed with an RBI single, and Straw came around when catcher Keibert Ruiz‘s attempt to pick him off third got past Candelario. Former National Josh Bell‘s two-out RBI double scored Kwan.

Corbin allowed four runs, two of them earned, in six innings.

The Guardians extended their lead to 6-3 in the seventh with two runs off Hobie Harris. García’s two-run blast off Tim Herrin in the bottom of the inning got Washington back within one. It was the first time in five games the Nationals scored after the fourth inning.

“We jump out and get the lead, we’ve got to tack on some runs late in games,” Martinez said. “They did that today.”

Washington opened the scoring in the first inning on Candelario’s RBI single. Thomas added an two-out RBI double in the second, and Candelario led off the third with his third homer, a drive just inside the right-field foul pole that was part of a four-hit day.

Cleveland starter Shane Bieber allowed three runs and struck out four in six innings.


Guardians: Francona said SS Amed Rosario was out of the lineup because of a balky back and is day to day.


Guardians: Cleveland’s road trip continues Monday in Detroit. RHP Hunter Gaddis (0-1, 8.53 ERA) faces the Tigers for the first time in his career.

Nationals: Washington is off Monday. RHP Josiah Gray (0-3, 4.32) starts Tuesday when Baltimore arrives for a two-game series.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”