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Washington Nationals news & notes: Joey Meneses hits go-ahead 3-run HR in 8th, lifts Nats, 6-5 over Rockies in D.C.

A big comeback win by the home team on Joey Meneses’s big three-run home run in the 8th...

No [First Inning] Homers Club:

Trevor Williams gave up a home run on the second pitch he threw in last week’s start on the road in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Williams held the Cubs to a run on three hits over the next four innings, but he’d thrown 98 pitches after five, so his manager went to the ‘pen at that point.

“It would’ve been nice to get Trevor back out there again [in the sixth],” Davey Martinez told reporters after the bullpen imploded in the eighth inning of an 8-3 loss.

“But he had 98 pitches after coming off a two-inning [rain-shortened] game his last outing.”

Williams, for his part, lamented the fact that the early home runs have become something of a trend, with, as MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted, seven first-inning homers allowed in 20 starts so far this season.

“It’s become an unfortunate trend,” Williams acknowledged. “I should just give up one in the bullpen before the game and go from there. But it’s part of pitching. You’re going to give up homers. You’re going to give up runs. It’s a matter of getting back up on the mound and executing.”

Williams avoided giving up any home runs in a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 first last night in Nationals Park, but he did give up back-to-back, two-out hits in the top of the second, a single by Elias Díaz and RBI double by Michael Toglia, which put the visiting Colorado Rockies up 1-0 early in Washington, D.C., and a third straight hit, an RBI single by Alan Trejo, brought the second run in, with Toglia scoring from third base after taking an extra base on the throw in on his double, 2-0.

With the score 2-1 in the top of the third, Williams did give up another home run. Ezequiel Tovar hit a first-pitch fastball to left field and off the netting on the foul pole for his 10th in 2023, and a 3-1 lead. Another run scored following three singles off the Nats’ starter, who finished the inning at 60 pitches overall, trailing by three.

An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth pushed Williams up to 71, and he returned to the mound in the top of the fifth and retired the side in order, then he did the same in the sixth, finishing up with 93 pitches overall and four runs allowed in six innings of work... though as noted on MASN during the game, his velocity playing down across the board is something to look at going forward...

Trevor Williams’ Line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 58 S, 2/5 GO/FO.


• Lane Thomas picked up his 11th outfield assist on the season in the top of the first, fielding a two-out line drive to right field and firing a throw to second in time to get Ryan McMahon.

Going into the game, as the Nationals highlighted in their pregame notes: “[Thomas led] the National League (T2nd in MLB) with a career-high 10 outfield assists.” Make that 11.

His 11 assists tied the Texas Rangers’ Adolis García for the most assists in the majors. Assists.

• Joey Meneses reached on an error to lead off the Nationals’ second, took second base on a groundout by Keibert Ruiz, and third on a single by Stone Garrett off Rockies’ left-hander Austin Gomber, before he scored on a two-out double by Riley Adams, 2-1 Rockies at that point, but Garrett got nailed at home on a relay from left fielder Nolan Jones, to shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, and on to catcher Elias Díaz for out No. 3.


Amos Willingham gave up back-to-back, one-out singles in the top of the seventh before the sky over Nationals Park opened up and sent the game (the start of which was delayed 90+ minutes) into the second rain delay of the night...

Colorado Rockies v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

They returned to play after a 51-minute delay, and Stone Garrett homered in the seventh, on an 0-1 sinker over the middle by Brad Hand, but the Rockies responded with a run in the top of the eighth, 5-2 Colorado.

In the bottom of the eighth, however, the home team rallied with CJ Abrams singling, then stealing second (No. 20, 17 for 17 going back to May), moving to third when Lane Thomas reached on an error, and scoring on an RBI double by Jeimer Candelario, 5-3, before Joey Meneses stepped up and hit a 1-1 sweeper out of the zone low from Rockies’ right-hander Justin Lawrence 380 ft to left for a three-run home run and a 6-5 Nationals’ lead. Wake up.

No. 7 of 2023 for Meneses. Kyle Finnegan got the ninth and locked down the win, working around a two-out single to end it. Ballgame. Final Score: 6-5 Nationals.

BACK PAGE - Lane Thomas Back In There - A Ministory:

There was a scare in the series opener with the Rockies, when a red-hit Lane Thomas got hit by a pitch late in the loss for the Nationals at home, and left the game, but his manager said in his post game press conference on Monday it was just precautionary.

“He got hit pretty good,” Davey Martinez explained to reporters, “right above the knee, so kind of precautionary, wanted to take him out so he can get checked out.

“Hopefully he’ll be good to go tomorrow.”

Thomas was on a nice little run before the HBP, going “... 6-for-16 (.375) with two doubles, a homer, three RBI[s], four stolen bases, and four runs scored over his last four games,” as noted in the Nationals’ pregame notes. He was back in the lineup for the club on Tuesday.

“He’s good,” Martinez said before the game. “He got treatment last night, came in today and said it feels fine. Which is good.”

Two Catcher Lineup:

Keibert Ruiz got a night off (sort of, from work behind the plate at least) in the 2nd of 3 with the Rockies in Nationals Park on Tuesday, though he did DH for the 4th time this season, with Nats’ backup backstop Riley Adams behind the plate catching Trevor Williams.

“We got an early game tomorrow,” Davey Martinez explained, with a 12:05 PM finale against the Rockies today.

“I wanted to give some our left-handed batters a day off,” against Rockies’ lefty Austin Gomber, “so it gives us flexibility with just Riley being able to catch, Keibert hitting.

“[Ruiz is] swinging the bat really good right-handed right now, and also the ability for him to be off his feet a little bit and be able to catch tomorrow.”

Ruiz began the night with a 9-game hit streak going, over which the recently-turned 25-year-old No. 1 catcher was 15 for 32 (.469/.528/.781) with four doubles, two home runs, four walks, and four Ks in 36 plate appearances over that stretch, reaching, “base safely in 19 of 36 plate appearances (.528 OBP) during the streak,” as the club noted.

Colorado Rockies v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Adams, 27, started the night with a .289/.344/.542 line on the year, in limited action, playing in just 24 games, and making 91 PAs before the game, over which he had five doubles, two triples, four home runs, six walks, and 26 Ks.

Having both in the lineup, could spark the offense for sure, but Martinez stressed the fact he had the schedule in mind while discussing his decision-making.

“I just try to pick days where I can do it,” he said of pencilling both catchers into the lineup.

“And today, after this weekend, looking at everything, it just made sense for them both to get a chance to get more at-bats. I want to keep Riley going a little bit, he’s swinging the bat well. And also, Keibert’s swinging the bat really good right-handed. But ... and giving Dom [Smith] a day too with the early game tomorrow [with Joey Meneses at first instead of DH].”

Martinez has been impressed with Adams’ ability to produce given infrequent opportunities this season.

“He’s swinging the bat really well,” the sixth-year skipper said. “Even against right-handed pitching, he’s hit the ball fairly well as well. The thing is, we all know that Keibert is going to get the bulk of the playing time. But I definitely want to get [Adams], at least twice a week if I can, in there to play.”

MLB: JUL 06 Reds at Nationals Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Adams has grown comfortable in the role as well, which helps the player and the club.

“I think he knows his role and he works and he works really hard to keep himself ready to go, and he’s done really well at it,” Martinez said, “... so yeah, I do think that sometimes you’ve got to know who you are and what your role is and be comfortable doing it, so he’s done really well with it. I could say, when you’re an everyday player, or want to be an everyday player, you’re ready to play every day no matter what. You don’t set your heart on playing just once or twice a week. I know he’s ready to play when he does get a chance to play but I also know that he wants to play. It’s nice, but he understands the situation.”