The Washington Nationals snapped a three-game skid with a 4-2 defeat of the Tampa Bay Rays, who still sit comfortably atop the American League East standings, in 10 innings.
After falling 6-1 to Tampa on Tuesday, the Nationals turned it around to improve to 18-29 on the season. The Rays, who at 31-18 are 3.5 games ahead of the New York Yankees in the division, have faltered in September, going 6-7 after ending August on a six-game winning streak.
Asdrubal Cabrera gave Washington the lead with a two-run home run in the top of the sixth that scored Juan Soto. But on the last strike of the game, Tampa's Brandon Lowe hit a solo shot over the right field wall to tie the game at two and send it to extras.
On the first pitch of the 10th inning, Luis Garcia homered with Carter Kieboom on second base to give Washington the lead once more and help the Nationals claim the season series against Tampa Bay, 3-1.
- Brandon Lowe, 2B, Rays: 3-for-4, 2B, HR
- Asdrubal Cabrera, 1B, Nationals: 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
- Nate Lowe, 1B, Rays: 1-for-1, 2B, RBI, 3 BB
- Luis Garcia, 2B, Nationals: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Nats' Asdrubal Cabrera Is Climbing Out of His Slump
MLB veteran Asdrubal Cabrera had his second home run in three games to send the Nationals past the Braves on Sunday, and he continued his hot streak with the go-ahead homer Wednesday. It's a welcome change for the 34-year-old, who was batting .191 in his past 30 games heading into Sunday, with 16 strikeouts in his last 15 outings.
When he was released by the Rangers last fall, he knocked in 40 runs in 38 games en route to the World Series. He started 2020 strong, with a .341 average in his first 12 games, before slowing down—along with the Nationals as a whole—in the middle of the season.
In a lost season for the defending world champions, it's nice to see Cabrera turn a downward trend around, especially when it's done against a top team.
Nate Lowe Is a High Point for the Ji-Man Choi-Less Rays
With first baseman Ji-Man Choi shut down for the regular season—and potentially the playoffs—with a strained hamstring, 2016 13th-rounder Nate Lowe, who was almost traded away by Tampa Bay, is getting his moment.
The 25-year-old had made four straight starts in Choi's absence, hitting .429 with three home runs from the sixth or seventh slot in the lineup. With his recent hot streak in mind, Lowe was moved up to bat cleanup, and his first-inning double scored Randy Arozarena to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
After his double, the Rays pitching staff intentionally walked Lowe in his next two at-bats.
The Rays can breathe a sigh of relief heading into the tail end of the season if it means Lowe continues to fill in at first.
The Nationals have quite the schedule to end the season, with 12 games scheduled in 10 days.
Washington will stay in Florida until Monday, where they'll head to Miami for five games in three days, with a pair of doubleheaders and a full-length game to account for postponements this summer.
The Marlins were scheduled to host Washington for a three-game series from July 31 to Aug. 2, but the series was postponed because of Miami's COVID-19 outbreak. Friday will be a doubleheader to account for Aug. 1, and Sunday will account for Aug. 2.
The Rays will head north to Baltimore for five games, including a doubleheader, as they close out the season with 11 games in as many days.