MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joey Meneses tied a career high with four hits, CJ Abrams hit his first home run since Washington acquired him in a trade last summer and the Nationals beat the Minnesota Twins 10-4 on a cold Saturday.
Washington (7-13) won consecutive games for only the second time this season after a pair of games at Colorado on April 7 and 8. The Nationals had 15 hits, reaching double digits for the seventh time.
“Basically, it motivates and takes the pressure off the team knowing that we already won the series,” Meneses said through a translator. “You feel a little bit more relaxed and hopefully, tomorrow, we’ll keep playing the same way with the same confidence.”
Mason Thompson (2-1) allowed an unearned run and two hits over 2 1/3 innings with four strikeouts in relief of Chad Kuhl, who needed 96 pitches to get 11 outs. Wearing short sleeves, Kuhl gave up one run, three hits and four walks.
The gametime temperature of 35 degrees was the coldest for the Nationals since the team moved to Washington from Montreal for the 2005 season. The previous low was 37 on Friday night.
“If we keep playing like this, I hope it’s 20 degrees for, like, the next four months,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez joked.
Minnesota has lost three straight and six of seven after a 10-4 start, dropping to 11-10.
Pablo López (1-2) struggled in his first start since agreeing to a $73.5 million contract covering 2024-27, allowing five runs and eight hits in four innings. He tied his career high of three hit batters, and his ERA rose from 1.73 to 3.00.
“We’re not playing well,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That we know. Every guy in that room knows that we’re not playing the way that we need to. Most of the games haven’t necessarily been like this, though. This was a challenging game on both sides of the ball for us.”
A night after his first homer for Washington started a comeback from a seventh-inning deficit, Meneses put the Nationals ahead with an RBI single in a two-run first that included López’s run-scoring wild pitch. Meneses added another run-scoring single in a two-run second in which Luis García also singled in a run.
Byron Buxton homered in the third, cutting the deficit to 4-1. But Jeimer Candelario hit an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth.
After Carlos Correa singled in a run in the fifth, Abrams homered on a changeup from Simeon Woods Richardson for an 8-2 lead in the seventh. Abrams, acquired from San Diego on Aug. 2 in the trade that sent Juan Soto to the Padres, had not homered since July 11 at Coors Field off Colorado’s Jake Bird.
“I knew it would come at some point,” Abrams said, “but it was good to get the first one out of the way.”
Trevor Larnach had a two-run double in the seventh off Hobie Harris.
The gametime temperature was the Twins’ coldest since it was 33 degrees against Boston on April 13, 2021. The coldest game in Target Field history was 27 against Seattle on April 7, 2018.
THE LONG GAME
With MLB’s new pitch-clock rules leading to shorter games around the league, Minnesota played its longest contest of the 2023 season so far: 3 minutes, 9 seconds.
Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda, expected by Baldelli to take his next turn, was scheduled to do light throwing Saturday and participate in a light bullpen session Monday, the manager said. Maeda left Thursday’s game at Boston in the second inning after a line drive off his left ankle.
LHP Patrick Corbin (1-2, 6.30) starts Sunday’s series finale for Washington. RHP Bailey Ober will be recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to start for Twins. He is 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts for the Saints.