BOSTON -- When Kyle Snyder was released by the Kansas City Royals last week, he didn't know where his baseball career would take him next.
Then Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein called.
"I started shaking a little bit," the 6-foot-8 right-hander said after throwing five solid innings to help Boston beat the Washington Nationals 6-3 Monday night. "It wasn't what I anticipated, obviously. But under the circumstances it was one of the best feelings I've ever had."
Signed for an emergency start after the Red Sox lost three starters to the disabled list, Snyder (1-0) had a career-high six strikeouts and allowed three runs and four hits. Manager Terry Francona said he didn't know how Snyder would be used next.
"Where it goes from here, we'll see," Snyder said. "But I am going to do all I can to help this ballclub win."
Manny Ramirez hit his 453rd career homer and Gabe Kapler had two hits in his return to the starting lineup to help Boston win its fourth consecutive game.
With David Wells, Matt Clement and Lenny DiNardo on the DL and closer Jonathan Papelbon resting after three straight outings, the Red Sox got seven innings from Snyder, Jermaine Van Buren and Javier Lopez, who all started the season in Triple-A.
Rudy Seanez pitched an inning before Mike Timlin worked the ninth for his first save of the year.
"I think it's one of those things where we've had bad luck with guys going on the DL," Lopez said. "We're just trying to hold it down for them."
Francona said it's "extremely rewarding" to get contributions from new people.
"I think it ends up being great for your ballclub," he said.
Snyder, 28, last pitched on June 8, giving up nine runs -- just five earned -- in two-plus innings before being designated for assignment by the Royals. He worked out at home in Florida before the Red Sox called on Saturday and asked if he could be ready.
He allowed single runs in the first three innings, then retired seven in a row. But after a 10-day layoff, he told Francona he had reached his limit.
"He seemed to settle down all right before he came out of the game," Nationals catcher Brian Schneider said.
Washington's Tony Armas (6-4) gave up four runs and eight hits with two walks in 3 2/3 innings. He has given up 11 runs in his last 6 2/3 innings and hasn't won in three starts since June 4.
"If our starting pitching doesn't go deep, we're in trouble," Washington manager Frank Robinson said.
Ramirez hit his 18th homer of the year in the eighth to move ahead of Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Thome into a tie with Gary Sheffield for 28th on baseball's career list. Gabe Kapler, in the starting lineup for the first time since rupturing his Achilles' tendon running the bases on Sept. 14, had two hits.
Jose Vidro and Jose Guillen hit solo homers for the Nationals, who won their previous two games with comeback victories over the New York Yankees.
The Nationals scored single runs in the first three innings. Boston tied it in the second when Jason Varitek hit a leadoff double, then Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp and Alex Cora singled.
In the fourth, Kapler doubled in Crisp and Kevin Youkilis hit an RBI groundout to make it 4-3. Mark Loretta tried to score on David Ortiz's single, but he was out when Schneider blocked the plate on the throw from center fielder Marlon Byrd.
The Red Sox made it 5-3 in the seventh, loading the bases against Mike Stanton before Jon Rauch walked Cora to drive in a run.
Washington 1B Nick Johnson was unavailable because of back spasms. He came out of the game Saturday after two innings. ... Vidro was 8-for-51 before hitting a solo homer in the first inning. ... Boston designated first baseman J.T. Snow for assignment. ... Boston OF Wily Mo Pena thinks he can be back from his left hand injury in a couple weeks.