Advertisement

Ben Lively wins career-best fourth straight start as AL Central-leading Guardians beat Nationals 3-2

CLEVELAND (AP) — Ben Lively won his career-best fourth consecutive start and Kyle Manzardo hit a bloop two-run single to lead the Cleveland Guardians over the Washington Nationals 3-2 on Saturday.

Lively (5-2) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four and walking one. The journeyman right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.90 ERA in four starts at home this season.

The Guardians are Lively’s fourth team since breaking into the major leagues in 2017. The 32-year-old also spent three seasons pitching in South Korea from 2019-21.

Lively credits his success to keeping things simple.

“I’m just throwing the ball over the plate, and I’ll keep rolling with that,” Lively said. “Stay ready and go with the fastball whenever in doubt.”

The Guardians won their ninth straight game at Progressive Field and are an MLB-best 20-6 at home this season and the first two games of this series have sold out. It is Cleveland’s longest home winning streak since 2017.

“Tons of people showing up every night and it gives you a great home field advantage,” said Manzardo, a rookie first baseman.

It was also the 12th win in the last 15 games overall for the Guardians, who lead the AL Central.

Manzardo hit a two-out single to left field with two outs in the first inning to open the scoring against rookie lefty Mitchell Parker (4-3), plating José Ramírez and Josh Naylor.

“No, not really,” Manzardo said with a laugh when asked if he thought the ball would drop between four fielders for a hit. “I hit it out there and somehow it found some grass.”

Ramirez scored from second on a wild pitch in the third inning to make it 3-0 and that run proved decisive. Ramirez had two hits and two runs scored.

“When I saw the ball bouncing there, my first reaction was to try to get home,” Ramirez said through a translator. “When I was about to step on (third) base, (catcher Riley Adams) was still chasing the ball and that’s when I realized I had a chance to score.”

“I love watching that guy play,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said of Ramirez. “He’s just fun. Plays the right way. Plays hard. Just never ceases to amaze me.”

David Fry extended his on-base streak to 19 games in a row as he doubled, walked and was hit by a pitch.

Emmanuel Clase pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 18th save in 21 chances.

The Nationals scored both of their runs off Lively in the fourth. Joey Meneses drove in the first run on a groundout and Jesse Winker followed with an RBI single.

Parker also worked 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and four walks. He had walked just eight in 44 1/3 innings in his eight previous starts.

“Mitchell should have got out of the first inning without giving any runs because that ball should have been caught,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said, referring to Manzardo’s bloop. “Today, we were sloppy. We didn’t play a very good game.”

Luis Garcia Jr. and Nick Senzel had two hits apiece for the Nationals. Garcia is 10 for 18 (.556) in five career games against the Guardians.

Martinez was ejected for arguing a swinging third strike against center fielder Jacob Young to end the third inning. Young swung at a pitch that appeared to hit his bat but home plate umpire Malachi Moore ruled the pitch struck Young’s right hand.

TRANSACTION

Nationals: CF Victor Robles was placed on unconditional release waivers after being designated for assignment earlier in the week. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 5 prospect before the 2018 season but the 27-year-old hit just .236 in eight seasons with the Nationals.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: Young was removed from the game in the top of the seventh inning after his hand began swelling. … SS CJ Abrams (jammed left shoulder) was a late scratch after being injured Friday while diving for a groundball.

Guardians: LF Steven Kwan got a scheduled day off after being activated from the injured list on Friday and going 3 for 4 with a walk to raise his batting average to .365. He had been out since May 5 with a strained left hamstring.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Jake Irvin (2-5, 3.43 ERA) will start Sunday’s series finale against Guardians RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-4, 5.16), who will be activated from the 15-day IL after being sidelined with neck spasms since May 16.

___

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