Mateo's go-ahead hit in 12th helps Orioles survive Kimbrel's blown save, beat Nats and avoid sweep (2024)

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TRAINER’S ROOM UP NEXT ___

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jorge Mateo drove in the go-ahead run with a 12th-inning single, and the Baltimore Orioles survived another shaky outing by closer Craig Kimbrel to beat the Washington Nationals 7-6 on Wednesday night and avoid being swept for the first time in nearly two years.

The Orioles blew two-run leads in the ninth and 11th. Ryan Mountcastle put Baltimore on top 5-3 with a two-run homer in the 11th off Hunter Harvey, but pinch-hitter Ildemaro Vargas hit a ground-rule double off Albert Suárez (2-0) in the bottom half to make it 5-4, and Jacob Young then tied it with a sacrifice fly.

In the 12th, Mateo led off with a base hit to score automatic runner Jordan Westburg, advanced to third on errors by third baseman Vargas and catcher Keibert Ruiz, and scored on a wild pitch by Jordan Weems (1-1).

“It was quite a game. There was a lot of stuff that happened there the last four or five innings,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Mounty with the huge homer, Jorge with the exciting single that turned into a Little League triple. ... A lot to unpack there, but I’m definitely relieved we won the game.”

Jacob Webb allowed Luis García Jr.'s leadoff double in the bottom half that got the Nationals within 7-6 but retired the next three batters for his second save.

Kimbrel blew a save for the third time in his last five outings, and it could have been four had he not been bailed out by Yennier Cano in a 2-1 win at Cincinnati on Saturday.

“We’re going to stick with him. This guy’s got a big-time track record. He’s a Hall of Famer, and we need to get him right,” Hyde said. “It’s important that we get him right.”

Kimbrel began the ninth with a 3-1 lead and retired the first two Washington batters before Eddie Rosario took him deep to right-center. He then issued back-to-back walks and was pulled for Keegan Akin, who gave up CJ Abrams’ tying single.

The 35-year-old right-hander, signed in the offseason as a replacement for the injured Félix Bautista, is tied for fifth all-time with 425 career saves but has blown four of his 12 opportunities this season. He did not speak to reporters after the game.

“I think he’s gonna be fine, man,” Webb said. “He’s a Hall of Famer in my book and, you know, being around him every day and, and watching what he does, I think we have all the confidence in the world.”

Thanks in part to Webb, the AL East-leading Orioles split the two-game series in front of a friendly crowd against their not-so-hated local rivals and extended their streak of regular-season series without being swept to 103, fourth-best in major league history. It was the 13th time in that span they won a series finale to extend the streak. Baltimore was last swept when it dropped three straight at Detroit from May 13-15, 2022, days before star catcher Adley Rutschman made his major league debut.

Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson hit his 11th homer of the season to match Shohei Ohtani for the major league lead, a go-ahead moonshot in the sixth.

Anthony Santander also homered off Nationals rookie left-hander Mitchell Parker, who had not allowed a longball in his previous four major league starts.

Making his second start of the season after he was sidelined by a UCL strain, Orioles right-hander Kyle Bradish allowed one run in five labor-intensive innings. He struck out nine while allowing four hits, two walks and a hit batter.

Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz singled in each of his first two at-bats to break out of a 3-for-51 slump.

Washington (18-18) fell back to .500 one day after achieving its first winning record since July 1, 2021.

“They put two on, we come back; they put two on, we come back,” manager Dave Martinez said. “That says a lot about this ballclub. It was beautiful, it really was. We fell short, but if we keep playing like that, we’re going to win a lot of baseball games.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Grayson Rodriguez threw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since going on the 15-day injured list a week ago with right shoulder inflammation. He threw 15 pitches, including some breaking balls, and said he felt fine.

Nationals: RHP Josiah Gray (right elbow) threw 30 fastballs in his latest bullpen session Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Host Arizona on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series, with LHP Cole Irvin (3-1, 2.86 ERA) starting.

Nationals: Send lefty Patrick Corbin (0-3, 6.45) to the mound as they begin a three-game set at Boston on Friday night.

___

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

Mateo's go-ahead hit in 12th helps Orioles survive Kimbrel's blown save, beat Nats and avoid sweep (2024)
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