Anthony Rendon hit his first major league home run following Nick Swisher’s ninth-inning error to propel the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 win over Cleveland on Saturday night.
Two pitches after his foul popup fell between the Indians’ first baseman and second baseman Jason Kipnis, Rendon homered into the Nationals’ bullpen off Vinnie Pestano (1-2) to stun the Indians and the crowd of 33,307.
Swisher and Kipnis both drifted into foul territory and it appeared either could have made the catch, but neither player appeared to call for it and the ball fell to the ground. Swisher was charged with the error.
Drew Storen (1-1) pitched the eighth for the win while Rafael Soriano worked the ninth for his 18th save. Mike Aviles doubled with two outs, but first baseman Adam LaRoche made a leaping catch of Michael Bourn’s line drive to end the interleague game.
The Indians trailed 5-0 in the third but scored six unanswered runs to take the lead until Chad Tracy’s pinch-hit home run off Joe Smith tied the game in the eighth.
Michael Brantley’s two-run double in the fifth, along with solo homers by Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds in the fifth, fueled Cleveland’s comeback from a 5-0 deficit.
The Indians rallied against Jordan Zimmerman, who couldn’t hold the lead and was denied his 10th win of the season. Santana and Reynolds hit back-to-back homers in the fourth before Cleveland scored three times in the fifth, taking the lead on Brantley’s two-run double.
Solo home runs by Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond, followed by a two-run third, staked Washington to an early lead, but Jordan Zimmerman allowed six runs in five innings.
Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir gave up five runs, including three homers, in 22/3 innings, but Washington was held in check until Tracy homered into Cleveland’s bullpen with two outs in the eighth.