WASHINGTON (AP) — Aníbal Sánchez earned his first victory in nearly two years, Luke Voit hit a two-run home run and the Washington Nationals beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Dermis Garcia homered for the second straight game for Oakland, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Athletics are an AL-worst 49-82 and assured of their first losing season since 2017.
Sánchez (1-5) worked a season-high seven innings, allowing three hits and one run in earning his first victory since Sept. 26, 2020. The 38-year-old did not pitch last year and did not debut this season until July 14 because of a cervical nerve impingement.
Wednesday also marked a return of Sánchez’s familiar jersey number. He wore No. 19 from 2009-20 for four teams, but Josh Bell had it when Sánchez signed with the Nationals in March. Sánchez donned No. 27 until he was offered his old number during this homestand. Washington dealt Bell to San Diego earlier this month.
“The No. 19 back has given me a little extra energy today … The number has been with me my whole life,” Sánchez said. “It’s something that when it’s on my back, it’s really something important for me.”
The right-hander had not gone more than 5 2/3 innings in his previous eight starts for Washington. Still, he showed progress in his previous two outings, allowing one run in 9 1/3 innings.
In his last three starts, Sánchez has lowered his ERA from 7.20 to 5.05.
“He’s just going out there with no fear and attacking the strike zone,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said.
It was the second time in three games a Nationals starting pitcher earned a victory. Washington had gone a major-league record 43 games without a starter earning a victory before Patrick Corbin defeated Cincinnati on Sunday.
“He’s a crafty right-hander who’s been around forever,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said of Sánchez. “He didn’t throw much in the middle and used his pitches and that’s what veterans do. He had a younger lineup in there that he kind of took advantage of a little bit. We didn’t really swing the bats well until the ninth inning.”
Working in a non-save situation, Washington closer Kyle Finnegan loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out pinch hitter Stephen Vogt to end it.
Washington went up 2-1 in the fifth against Oakland starter James Kaprielian (3-9) on back-to-back RBI singles by Josh Palacios and Luis García.
After García was erased on a double-play grounder, Voit hit an opposite-field shot to right-center for his 18th home run of the season and fifth since joining the Nationals earlier this month as part of the deal that sent Bell and Juan Soto to San Diego.
CJ Abrams chased Kaprielian with a two-out double in the sixth, then scored on Ildemaro Vargas’ RBI double off Zach Logue.
Kaprielian allowed five runs, two earned, and struck out three in 5 2/3 innings.
Garcia gave Oakland a 1-0 lead with a shot to left in the second.
Athletics: Kotsay said OF Ramón Laureano (strained left oblique) will begin a rehabilitation assignment Thursday with Class A Stockton. … Oakland recalled RHP Norge Ruiz from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Nationals: Washington placed RHP Cade Cavalli (shoulder inflammation) on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Sunday, and recalled RHP Cory Abbott from Triple-A Rochester. … Martinez said C Tres Barrera is likely to be one of the Nationals’ call-ups when rosters expand Thursday.
Athletics: LHP Ken Waldichuk makes his major league debut Thursday. Waldichuk is 6-4 with a 2.84 ERA in the minors this season and was acquired earlier this month in the deal that sent Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino to the New York Yankees.
Nationals: RHP Paolo Espino (0-6, 4.35 ERA), who is 0-6 with a 5.32 ERA in 14 starts since joining Washington’s rotation in June, gets the nod as the three-game series concludes.
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