WASHINGTON (AP) — Joey Meneses pinch-hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning, and the Washington Nationals defeated the Chicago White Sox 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Jackson Rutledge, a former first-round selection, allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings in his first home start for Washington. The Nationals had lost six of seven.
Luis Robert Jr. and Yoán Moncada homered for Chicago, which has lost eight of 11 and 13 of 18.
Washington went ahead when the White Sox went to the bullpen in the seventh inning. Left-hander Aaron Bummer (4-5) allowed two of the four hitters he faced to reach, and was lifted when right-handed hitting Meneses was announced as a pinch hitter for Blake Rutherford.
Meneses remained in to face right-hander Bryan Shaw and lifted a 1-1 slider into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center. It was Meneses' second career home run as a pinch hitter.
“I'm not used to it, so it's not easy, but I think DHing has helped me better prepare myself for those situations,” Meneses said via an interpreter. “I personally don't think anybody likes to pinch hit in general. It's not easy.”
It was the 12th homer in 144 games for Meneses, one shy of his total over 56 games last season.
“I know he's worked all year to drive the ball a little bit better, but one thing I know about Joey: If we put runners on base, there's a good chance he'll hit it hard,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said.
Kyle Finnegan gave up a run in the ninth on Moncada's one-out RBI single but avoided further damage to earn his 26th save.
Rutledge, the franchise’s first-round pick in 2019, made his first start at Nationals Park. While it was smoother than his big-league debut Wednesday at Pittsburgh, when he allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, he had two missteps on the first pitch of an inning.
Robert led off the fourth with his second home run in as many nights, launching a changeup to left to open the scoring. It was Robert’s 37th homer of the season, second in the American League behind Los Angeles’ Shohei Ohtani, and one of his three hits on the night.
“Robert is only one pitch away from just going on a streak, and here he is," White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said.
Moncada blasted Rutledge’s first offering of the seventh to right to put Chicago up 2-1. Rutledge got Andrew Vaughn to ground out, then was lifted after yielding six hits and a walk.
“I feel like my signature as a starting pitcher is I get deep into games” Rutledge said. “Just being a guy who saves the bullpen, being a guy who just gets quick outs. I only struck out two guys, but to me, it doesn't really matter. I'd rather take a first-pitch ground ball than a five-pitch strikeout.”
Robert Garcia (2-2) replaced Rutledge and retired the only two hitters he faced.
White Sox starter José Ureña took a shutout into the sixth before surrendering Jacob Young’s leadoff triple and Lane Thomas’ sacrifice fly two batters later. Ureña allowed a run and four hits in six innings.
Nationals: RHP Cade Cavalli played catch for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, making 25 throws from 45 feet. “I don’t know how else to describe it,” Cavalli said. “It was an awesome feeling.” … Washington placed OF Travis Blankenhorn (plantar fasciitis) on the 10-day injured list and recalled Rutherford from Triple-A Rochester. Blankenhorn hit .161 with a homer and an RBI in 10 games this month. … INF/OF Jake Alu (sore left thumb) was out of the lineup.
White Sox: RHP Jesse Scholtens (1-9, 4.77 ERA), who is 0-6 with a 6.00 ERA in nine starts since becoming a regular member of Chicago's rotation Aug. 1, takes the mound as the three-game series concludes.
Nationals: RHP Josiah Gray (7-12, 4.07) is winless in eight starts since July 27 but did strike out a season-high 10 in a 2-0 loss Thursday at Pittsburgh in his last outing.
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