“We got up, we got behind, we came back, scored a couple more runs, and then [Carl Edwards, Jr.] did a great job, got four outs for us at the end, but the guys hit the ball. [Keibert] Ruiz, man, what a night he had, and [Joey] Meneses had a great night as well with the bat, so it was a good one,” Davey Martinez told reporters last night after the Washington Nationals snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over Chicago’s Cubs on Wrigley Field.
Edwards, Jr. recorded four outs for his first save of the season. Ruiz went 2 for 3 with a solo home run in the second and a three-run home run in the fourth. And the Nats’ 30-year-old rookie, Meneses, went 2 for 4 with a two-run home run in the top of the eighth, which put the Nationals’ back on top, after the Cubs rallied to go up 5-4 with four runs in the bottom of the seventh.
With his two home runs last night, Ruiz matched his total from the previous 29 games, connecting for his 5th and 6th home runs on the season. His power has been a topic of conversation all season, with the club maybe expecting more from the 24-year-old backstop who hit 21 between Triple-A in LA and Washington’s minor league systems last season, but his manager said the homers last night were a positive sign.
“That was awesome,” Martinez said in his post game press conference from Wrigley Field. “[Ruiz is] another kid that’s working really hard with [Hitting Coach] Darnell [Coles] and ‘Six’ [Assistant Hitting Coach Pat Roessler] down there in the cage, and trying to get back-loaded on his back side a little bit better, and tonight it paid off. He hit two balls, two balls that were in where he’s struggled getting to, he smoked them and it was a good sign and good things to come.”
Ruiz turning on those inside pitches was a positive development for the catcher.
“Absolutely,” Martinez said. “We want him to get to the pull side when he can, and he’s going to have to do that. When they pitch him in, he’s going to have to turn on a couple balls. He had another cutter I think, and pulled it foul, a line drive foul, and I thought, oh, awesome, he got his hands through really nice, and then like I said, he had two balls where he got his hands through and stayed behind the ball, and drove them.”
Meneses, the journeyman first baseman and outfielder, who played 10 minor league seasons before getting a shot in the majors, and has traveled the world playing the game, has now hit three home runs in six games since he was called up earlier this month.
“We saw him in Spring Training here and there,” Martinez said when asked if he was surprised by the power on display. “He came up and played, and he swung the bat well, and he went to Rochester, and he swung the bat really well at Rochester. What I really didn’t now is how well he handles himself, whether it’s first base, right field, left field, he does all the little things, and his arm, his arm is really good out there. So, you know, he’s doing well, he’s been up here and he’s working hard and he’s doing really well right now.”
Today, the Nationals go for a series win after splitting the first two with the Cubs.
HERE’S THE NATIONALS LINEUP FOR THE FINALE WITH THE CUBS: