WASHINGTON (AP) — Rookie Gunnar Henderson drove in four runs, Jorge Mateo homered and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Washington Nationals 6-2 on Wednesday night to complete a two-game sweep.
Baltimore pulled within four games of Tampa Bay for the third and final AL wild card. The Orioles begin a three-game series Friday at wild-card leader Toronto — and trail the Blue Jays by 5 1/2 games. Baltimore had dropped six of eight prior to the series in Washington.
“We were playing a little tense in the other games and we were able to play loose,” Henderson said. “You saw the energy in the dugout and it was really fun. We were able to turn it around and we’re looking forward to this series.”
Riley Adams and Luke Voit homered for Washington, which is a majors-worst 49-94 and has lost five in a row and seven of eight. The Nationals had only four hits and were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
The Orioles took control with a four-run seventh against Mason Thompson (1-1). After back-to-back singles, Henderson laced an opposite-field hit down the line. César Hernández, playing left for just the fourth time in his 10-year career, appeared to anticipate the ball caroming off a wall in foul territory, only for it to zip into the corner.
Hernández then lost his grip on the ball when he tried to throw it back to the infield, an error that allowed Henderson to charge home.
“That was the first Little League home run I’ve had in a long time,” Henderson said. “It was a triple, but I still count it. It was pretty fun.”
Mateo launched the next pitch into the left field seats to make it 5-2.
Henderson added an RBI double in the eighth. The infielder is hitting .320 with nine RBIs in 14 games since his Aug. 31 callup from Triple-A…