Luis García Jr. pinch-hits and hits three runs in the seventh to help the Nationals beat the Blue Jays 9-3.


Luis García Jr. hit a three-run homer deep to center field in the seventh inning for the first pinch-hit homer of his career, helping the Washington Nationals rally for a 9-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday. at night.

Garcia hit an 85 mph blast from Erik Swanson for his second home run of the season to give Washington a 4-3 lead. Nick Senzel added an RBI double in the inning.

“I came straight from hitting in the cage,” Garcia said through a translator. “Actually, he wasn’t trying to be too aggressive. I was just trying to focus on that at-bat to try to get a fly ball. Fortunately, he threw a splitter that was hanging a little bit and was up and I was able to make good contact with it.”

The Nationals added four runs in the eighth, benefiting from two fielding errors. They have won six of their last eight to get back to .500 with a 16-16 record. It was their 11th comeback victory of the season.

“We’re trying to keep him from chasing,” manager Davey Martinez said. “That is the most important. He is a high hitter. Trying to get him to think in the middle most of the time and stay in the middle of the field. He’s been very good at doing that. He’s doing well.”

With a 3-1 lead, the Blue Jays bullpen collapsed.

Swanson (0-2) and Tim Mayza combined to allow four runs on four hits, recording just one out, to ruin a quality start by Yusei Kikuchi. Reliever Génesis Cabrera allowed four runs in just two-thirds of an inning.

“We just left pitches in the zone,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said of Swanson. “Honestly, I don’t know if he’s tipping pitches. I’m not afraid to say it publicly. It is better than what he is showing now.”

Kikuchi allowed one run and six hits in six innings and 10 pitches. It is the fifth consecutive start in which the left-hander has completed six frames, matching a similar streak in 2021.

The Japanese pitcher struck out seven, including six of seven batters in the middle frames, and has now walked just one batter in his last 22 innings.

The Blue Jays led 3-0 in the second, but have now lost three in a row and eight of their last 11.

“Obviously the last few games have been pretty tough losses, but we’re all preparing really hard and practicing behind the scenes,” Kikuchi said through a translator. “I am confident that we will change the situation soon.”

Daulton Varsho hit a two-run double off Nationals starter Patrick Corbin.

Varsho’s double was the Blue Jays’ third extra-base hit in their first seven at-bats against Corbin. George Springer added a sacrifice fly to left field to make it 3-0.

After a shaky second frame, Corbin finished with three runs allowed in six innings on six hits, throwing 61 of his 92 pitches for strikes. Jacob Barnes (2-0) earned the victory with a shutout relief inning.

“I was able to hold them to three there and get out of a jam the next inning and then I felt really good,” Corbin said. “It’s just great to see the offense step up and put up some bad numbers late and get us back in the game.”


Blue Jays: Schneider said RHP Alek Manoah (right shoulder) threw a lateral on Friday and is “definitely in the mix” to start Sunday’s final. A decision will be made in the next 24 hours.

Nationals: RHP Josiah Gray (right elbow) will throw a bullpen on Saturday. CF Víctor Robles (hamstring) continues rehabbing with Triple-A Syracuse. Joey Gallo (left shoulder) and LHP Robert Garcia (flu) begin rehab duties Saturday at Single-A Fredericksburg.


Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (1-3, 4.50) would face RHP Jake Irvin (2-2, 4.28) on Saturday.

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