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Ildemaro Vargas’ HR lifts Nats above Mariners

Aug 24, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA;  Washington Nationals right fielder Joey Meneses (45) is greeted by catcher Keibert Ruiz (20) after scoring against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

Ildemaro Vargas hit a tiebreaking two-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth inning as the Washington Nationals defeated the host Seattle Mariners 3-1 Wednesday afternoon.

Vargas just cleared the fence in right-center field on a 1-2 pitch from right-hander Paul Sewald (3-4) as the Nationals earned a split of the two-game series. Keibert Ruiz, who drew a leadoff walk, also scored on the play.

Nationals right-hander Kyle Finnegan (5-2) earned the victory with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.

Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez became the 12th player in major league history to join the 20-20 club when he hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the score at 1-1.

Rodriguez launched a 0-1 curveball at the top of the strike zone from Carl Edwards Jr. into Seattle’s bullpen in left-center field. Rodriguez, who has 23 stolen bases, also became the first Mariners player to hit 20 homers and record 20 steals in a season since Mike Cameron did so in 2002.

The Nationals overcame a record-setting performance by Seattle rookie George Kirby.

Kirby began the game with 24 consecutive strikes. That’s the most since records began being kept in 1988, breaking the mark of 21 set by Joe Musgrove against the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 30, 2018.

Kirby went seven innings and allowed one run on eight hits. The right-hander didn’t walk a batter and matched a career high with nine strikeouts.

The Nationals strung together three consecutive singles to take the lead in the first inning. With one out, Joey Meneses lined a base hit to center field and advanced to second on Luke Voit’s grounder into left field. Former Mariner Nelson Cruz grounded the next pitch into center to bring home Meneses.

Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford was ejected by home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger for arguing a called third strike that ended the seventh inning.

–Field Level Media