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Oh what a relief for Carter Kieboom: Washington Nationals’ rookie connects for first extra base hit...

Carter Kieboom’s double drives in a run for his first extra-base hit of his season …

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON - Time was called and Carter Kieboom gave a big smile as he stood near second base here at Nationals Park in the last of the second inning Tuesday night.

Batting ninth in the order, Kieboom smashed a double to left field off Tampa Bay starter Ryan Yarbrough.

The hit not only scored Brock Holt - who had doubled to right - but it was the first extra-base hit of the season for Kieboom in his 62nd at-bat.

“Good for Carter,” manager Dave Martinez told Federal Baseball. “He is working diligently and playing well. He got the monkey off his back. We were happy he drove in a run. That is important. That was good for him, he is making progress.”

Kieboom popped out in his second at-bat, was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth and eventually scored and then grounded out hard to third base in his last trip to the plate in the eighth inning Tuesday in the Nationals’ 5-3 victory.

Now 23 as of Thursday, the right-handed batter is hitting .203 with an OPS of .358 and eight RBI this year.

Last year, in his Major League debut, the Georgia native had just two extra-base hits in 39 at-bats - two homers while hitting .128 as he filled in at shortstop for an injured Trea Turner in May.

He hit .303 with 16 homers with Triple-A Fresno in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League in 2019.

On defense, he continues to improve at third base after he was drafted as a shortstop by the Nationals. He played just 10 games at third base last year at Triple-A Fresno while playing 41 games at second and 62 at shortstop.

“You know, I am not surprised. He is a good athlete,” Martinez said. “He has worked with coaches Chip (Hale) and (Tim Bogar) really, really, really hard to get better and he is better. His throws have gotten a lot better. He is going to get better. He is starting to understand how to play the position.”

If there is pressure to replace the departed third baseman Anthony Rendon, Kieboom doesn’t show it according to coaches in player development.

“I think he has never lost track of who he is and what he wants to accomplish. He knows he can play,” Tommy Shields, the co-field coordinator in player development with the Nationals, told Federal Baseball.

“I’ve just told him to go out there and have fun,” Martinez said.

Brock Holt, who has played third base in his career, continued his torrid streak Tuesday with two hits and has seven hits in his last three games.

“I got off to a rough start” after joining the team, Holt told Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) after the game.

“It’s hard to get things going without consistent at-bats. This group is great.”

Holt said he has been impressed new teammates Trea Turner and Juan Soto. “I have been in awe of those two,” said Holt, who added his wife is expecting their second child next week and she has signed off on his mustache for now.

“He has been a good addition,” Martinez said of Holt.