May 29th, 2024

Luis Garcia Jr. hits pinch, 3-run shot in 7th to help the Nationals beat the Blue Jays 9-3

By Byron Kerr, The Associated Press on May 3, 2024.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Luis Garcia Jr. hit a three-run shot deep to center field in the seventh inning for his first career pinch-hit home run, helping the Washington Nationals rally for a 9-3 victory over the reeling Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.

Garcia connected on Erik Swanson’s 85-mph splitter for his second homer of the season to give Washington a 4-3 lead. Nick Senzel added an RBI double in the inning.

The Nationals added four runs in the eighth, benefitting from two fielding errors. They have won six of their last eight to get back to .500 at 16-16. It was their 11th comeback win of the season.

Staked to a 3-1 lead, the Blue Jays’ bullpen collapsed.

Swanson (0-2) and Tim Mayza combined to surrender four runs on four hits, getting just one out, to ruin a quality start from Yusei Kikuchi. Reliever Génesis Cabrera allowed four runs in just two-thirds on an inning.

Kikuchi allowed one run on six hits over six innings on 10 pitches. It is the fifth consecutive start that the left-hander has gone six frames, matching a similar run in 2021.

The Japanese pitcher struck out seven, including six of seven batters in the middle frames, and has now walked only one batter in his last 22 innings.

The Blue Jays led 3-0 in the second but have now lost three in a row and lost eight of their last 11.

Daulton Varsho drilled a two-run double off Nationals starter Patrick Corbin.

Varsho’s double was the Blue Jays’ third extra base hit in their first seven at-bats against Corbin. George Springer added a sacrifice fly to left field to make it 3-0.

After a shaky second frame, Corbin finished with three runs allowed over six innings on six hits, throwing 61 of his 92 pitches for strikes. Jacob Barnes (2-0) go the victory with an inning of shutout relief.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Manager John Schneider said RHP Alek Manoah (right shoulder) threw a side Friday and “is definitely in the mix” to start Sunday’s finale. A decision will be made in the next 24 hours.

Nationals: RHP Josiah Gray (right elbow) will throw a bullpen Saturday. CF Victor Robles (hamstring) continues rehabbing with Triple-A Syracuse. Joey Gallo (left shoulder) and LHP Robert Garcia (flu) begin rehab assignments Saturday at Single-A Fredericksburg.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (1-3, 4.50) was set to face RHP Jake Irvin (2-2, 4.28) on Saturday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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