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

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 beat the Houston Astros 5-4 on Saturday.

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

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

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

“Yeah, they’re not easy,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “You have a chance to win the game, and you have the guys you want in the game, and the fact that you can’t close this game out is 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 loss to the Astros.

“It was absolutely magical. We played a lot of games like this in ’19,’ manager Dave Martinez said. ‘We had trouble scoring points. We were 0 to 10 with runners in scoring position. Then we finally got through it.”

Nick Senzel reached on Yainer Diaz’s catcher interference and moved to third on CJ Abrams’ double off Pressly, who came in after usual closer Josh Hader had thrown four times in the previous six days. Jesse Winker’s single to center tied the score at 4. It was the Astros’ sixth save in eight chances.

“Weird catcher interference at the top of the inning,” Espada said. “Then missing locations. Leave some places in the center of the plate. Just better execution and we’ll get some swings and misses and get out of that inning.

Espada said Hader was unavailable.

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

“I know he’s come a long way, but Lane is really good at getting behind the ball and making a really strong 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 threw a no-hitter to start the season and came in with an ERA of 0.86, threw six innings and gave up two runs and five hits. Blanco allowed baserunners in four of the six innings and gave up his first extra-base hit of the season, with Abrams’ home run leading off the first for Washington.

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

Williams retired the last 13 batters he faced, starting with Chas McCormick, who struck out and was called for batter interference, negating a stolen base by Pena and ending the second inning came to an end.

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 starting rehabilitation.

NEXT ONE

Houston RHP Cristian Javier (2-0, 1.54) will start Sunday against rookie LHP Mitchell Parker (1-0, 3.60), who is making his first start at Nationals Park.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb