CLEVELAND (AP) Joey Meneses’ two-run double keyed a four-run second and Jake Irvin pitched six strong innings to lead the Washington Nationals to a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday.

Meneses’ double to deep center field opened the scoring against Carlos Carrasco. Ildemaro Vargas and Lane Thomas had back-to-back RBI singles later in the second to put the Nationals up 4-0 as they avoided a series sweep.

“I’m just looking to stay up the middle and I connected on that pitch very well and it felt great,” Meneses said through a translator.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez was happy to see his team grab a big lead early.

“We harp about scoring first to let our pitchers settle in because they are going to keep us in a lot of games,” Martinez said. “It’s really important to understand that we have to beat up on their starter and let our pitcher get settled down and pitch a little deeper into the game.”

That was enough support for Irvin (3-5), who allowed five hits and one walk while striking out six. Irvin had gone 1-3 in his previous five starts despite a 2.55 ERA.

“It’s awesome. It makes my job a lot easier,” Irvin said of the early lead. “I can just go out there and continue to pound the zone and keep us in that game. Props to those guys. They took a little weight off my shoulders and it was awesome to see.”

The AL Central-leading Guardians’ nine-game home winning streak, their longest since 2017, was snapped.

“We just couldn’t see to square anything up against (Irvin),” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said.

Daniel Schneemann cut the Nationals’ lead in half in the bottom of the second inning by lining a two-run double to right field on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues. Schneemann, an infielder/outfielder, had his contract selected by the Guardians from Triple-A Columbus prior to the game.

Schneemann was Cleveland’s 33rd-round draft pick in 2018.

“It’s a day I’ll remember for a really long time,” Schneemann said. “It was a fun day. It was a day I waited a long time for.”

Thomas hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth to push the Nationals’ lead to 5-2. The Nationals had scored just three runs while losing the first two games of the series.

Carrasco (2-5) had a rocky return from the injured list, as he was tagged for five runs on seven hits in four innings. He had been sidelined since May 16 with neck spasms.

Kyle Finnegan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 16th save in 18 opportunities.

Vargas had two hits, as did Will Brennan for the Guardians.


Nationals: C Drew Millas was recalled from Triple-A Rochester and C Riley Adams was optioned there. Adams will also play some first base at Rochester.

Guardians: OF Johnathan Rodriguez was optioned to Columbus, opening a spot on the roster for Schneemann.


Nationals: CF Jacob Young (right hand soreness) did not play after being injured during Saturday’s game. He underwent an X-ray, which was negative. … SS CJ Abrams (left shoulder soreness) was a late scratch for a second straight day.

Guardians: 2B Andres Gimenez missed his second straight game with what Vogt said was “soreness” without being specific. Gimenez is expected to return Tuesday night when Cleveland opens a three-game series against Kansas City. … RHP Eli Morgan (right elbow inflammation) was placed on the 15-day injured list to clear roster space for Carrasco.


Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (4-4, 2.91 ERA) is scheduled to pitch Monday night in the opener of a three-game home series against the Mets after having 18 strikeouts and one walk while winning his last two starts. New York will pitch RHP Tylor Magill (0-2, 1.69).

Guardians: After having Monday off, second-place Kansas City visits Cleveland in a divisional showdown. RHP Triston McKenzie (2-3, 3.77) will start for the Guardians against Royals RHP Seth Lugo (9-1, 1.72).


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