By Lewis Gould
The Nats have fallen faster than Niagara.
And it was the more than worse Orioles that pushed them down to 45-53, a full eight games back of the NL East-leading Mets and before behind the second-place Phillies, whom they play tonight.
Ryan McKenna scored on a sharp grounder by Ramon Urías for the winning run as the Baltimore Orioles completed a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 5-4 win.
Trey Mancini, Maikel Franco and McKenna hit solo homers for the Orioles, who improved to 1-51 when trailing after eight innings.
“Overall, today was just a good day,” said McKenna, who hit his first major league home run. “I was glad that we were able to win that ballgame. Good vibes all around for the team.”
Orioles starter John Means allowed just two hits before the sixth, when he hit Alcides Escobar for the second time with a pitch and allowed a single to Trea Turner. After getting Juan Soto to fly out to center field and striking out Josh Bell, Means allowed a three-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman that gave Washington a 4-3 lead.
Brad Hand (5-4) hit Franco, gave up a single to McKenna and walked Austin Hays to start the ninth. Pat Valaika tied the game with a sacrifice fly before Urías hit a hard ground ball that was snagged by third baseman Carter Kieboom, who threw to the plate. McKenna slid home with the winning run, and the play was upheld after a replay review.
Hand blew his fourth save opportunity in 24 chances.
“In the ninth inning, you don’t expect that to happen,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “It was a tough one. … We have to put it behind us. You can’t do nothing about these three losses.”
Cole Sulser (3-1) earned the win by throwing one-third of an inning.
Means, who made his second start for the Orioles since coming off the injured list on July 20 after a left shoulder strain, allowed four runs and five hits with two strikeouts and one walk over six innings. He also hit three batters.
“I felt a lot more in control today,” Means said. “I was hitting my spots a little better.”
The Orioles managed their first sweep of Washington at Camden Yards since June 2010.