Joey Meneses hits an RBI single in the 10th inning to lead Nationals past Astros 5-4

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joey Meneses hit an RBI single in the 10th inning after Ryan Pressly blew the save in the ninth for Houston and the Washington Nationals came back to defeat the Astros 5-4 on Saturday.

Meneses led off the 10th against Seth Martinez (1-2) and lined his first pitch to the wall in right-center, scoring Nasim Nuñez from second base with the winning run on his third hit of the game.

“In that particular moment, I was just trying to focus on getting a good pitch and taking a good swing in that at-bat," said Meneses, who began the day hitting .182. "If you keep thinking about everything, it’s just overwhelming.”

Washington had tied it with two runs in the ninth against Houston, which has lost 11 of its last 12 extra-inning games.

“Yeah, they’re not easy,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “You find yourself with an opportunity to win the game, and you have the guys that you want in the game, and the fact that you can’t close this game, it’s hard to swallow.”

The Nationals won on a day when players from the 2019 World Series champions were on hand to celebrate the five-year anniversary of their seven-game defeat of the Astros.

“It was definitely magic. Played a lot of games like that in ’19," manager Dave Martinez said. "We struggled early scoring runs. We were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Then we came through at the end.”

Nick Senzel reached on catcher's interference by Yainer Diaz and went to third on CJ Abrams' double off Pressly, who was in after usual closer Josh Hader pitched four times in the previous six days. Jesse Winker's single to center tied it at 4. It was the sixth blown save for the Astros in eight chances.

“Weird catcher interference to start the inning,” Espada said. “After that, missing locations. Leaving some pitches in the middle of the plate. Just better execution and we’ll get some swings and misses and get out of that inning.”

Espada said Hader was not available.

Kyle Finnegan (1-2) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win. He was helped when right fielder Lane Thomas raced to catch Alex Bregman's pop up in foul territory and then threw Jose Altuve out at home.

“I know he ran a long way, but Lane’s really good about getting behind the ball and making a really strong throw and accurate throw,” Martinez said. "I thought he did a great job.”

Houston trailed 2-1 entering the seventh before getting RBI singles from Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Peña. Tucker added another RBI single in the eighth to make it 4-2.

Ronel Blanco, who tossed a no-hitter to start the season and came in with a 0.86 ERA, went six innings, giving up two runs and five hits. Blanco allowed baserunners in four of six innings and gave up his first extra-base hit of the season, Abrams’ homer leading off the first for Washington.

Nationals starter Trevor Williams allowed a first-inning run and gave up three hits. He struck out four without a walk.

Williams retired the final 13 batters he faced, beginning with Chas McCormick, who struck out and was called for batter’s interference on the play, negating a stolen base by Pena and ending the second inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Espada said LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) threw about 30 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday and “looked pretty good.” Valdez could return to the rotation without a rehab start.

UP NEXT

Houston RHP Cristian Javier (2-0, 1.54) starts Sunday against rookie LHP Mitchell Parker (1-0, 3.60), who'll make his first start at Nationals Park.

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