Nationals end four-game skid, roll over Rays

CJ Abrams set the tone by leading off the game with a home run, Washington scored six times in the seventh, and the Nationals broke a four-game losing streak Saturday afternoon with an 8-1 rout of the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Before leaving after seven innings, Abrams went 2-for-3 with his 13th home run, a double and a walk. He tallied two runs and two RBIs.

Luis Garcia Jr. went 3-for-4 with a double, walk, two runs and an RBI. Harold Ramirez had two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs. Keibert Ruiz had two hits and an RBI.

Jake Irvin (6-6) was masterful over a six-inning start that took 96 pitches. The right-hander allowed just one hit, a homer to Brandon Lowe, while striking out five and walking three.

He improved to 5-1 on the road.

Other than Lowe’s homer, the Rays managed only a seventh-inning single by Randy Arozarena.

Yandy Diaz’s team-record 20-game hitting streak and 29-game on-base streak ended in an 0-for-4 showing.

Aaron Civale (2-6) labored through 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He fanned two and walked four.

Abrams swatted Civale’s fourth pitch of the game, an 89 mph cutter, out to deep right center for his fifth career leadoff homer.

Civale’s messy first inning, which included two hits and two walks, ended with Ramirez — a career .300 hitter over three seasons for the Rays — striking out on a foul tip with two runners in scoring position on Civale’s 31st offering.

The Rays knotted it in the bottom half via a fortunate break. Lowe’s towering foul ball straight up banged off one of the dome’s catwalks, turning an easy foulout near home plate into a dead ball.

With second life, the designated hitter responded by belting the next pitch in the same area as Abrams’ shot, just longer at 405 feet, for his sixth homer.

After going ahead 2-1 on a wild pitch in the fourth, the Nationals broke open the contest by scoring six times on seven hits in the seventh.

Abrams’ double plus singles by Jesse Winker and Garcia made it a 5-1 advantage. Then Ramirez, who was designated for assignment earlier this month by the Rays, tripled in two runs.

Ruiz’s RBI single made it 8-1 as the boos rained down on the home side after 10 Washington batters came to the plate.

–Field Level Media