WASHINGTON (AP) — Josh Bell hit his first home run since signing with Cleveland, and the Guardians rallied against the Washington Nationals’ bullpen for a 4-3 victory Friday night.
Will Brennan drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth on a light grounder for Cleveland, which earned its first victory in Washington since Aug. 9, 2016. The Nationals had won the teams’ last four meetings.
Luis García hit his first homer of the season for Washington, which fell to 1-6 at home.
Bell, a former National who was traded to San Diego at last year’s trade deadline, signed a two-year, $33 million deal with the Guardians in December. He was off to a 5-for-48 start before leading off the seventh with a blast to center against Hunter Harvey to pull Cleveland within 3-2.
“It was a game that I needed,” Bell said. “The last few games, I felt like I had been trending in the right direction. Just to see the results that game, it’s definitely just fuel in the fire just to stay the course.”
The Guardians tied it when Carl Edwards Jr. (0-1) issued a bases-loaded walk to Jose Ramírez after replacing Harvey later that inning.
Edwards fumbled Andres Giménez’s leadoff grounder in the eighth and then yielded a Bell double. Brennan then dribbled a check-swing grounder to shortstop CJ Abrams, who had little choice but to take the out at first even though Washington had its infield in.
Bell has four hits in his last three games after collecting three in his first 10 outings as a Guardian.
“I don’t know if you guys are worried; we’re not,” pitcher Cal Quantrill said. “I think we all know exactly what Josh is capable of and you got a little taste today. I expect more of it.”
The multi-hit game was the first of the season for Bell.
“He took some really good swings, and good for him,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “You could see our dugout, how excited they were for him. You could just see him in line after the game. I get it. It had to feel good.”
Trevor Stephan (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh, James Karinchak worked around a hit batsman to get through the eighth and Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his fourth save.
García delivered a one-out homer off Quantrill in the fourth. Alex Call added a two-run single later in the inning to put the Nationals up 3-0.
Quantrill allowed three runs in six innings and struck out three.
The Guardians scored their first run on Josh Naylor’s double-play grounder in the sixth. Washington starter Trevor Williams yielded four hits and a run in five-plus innings while striking out two.
Nationals: Manager Dave Martinez said LHP Sean Doolittle (elbow) could throw live batting practice as early as next week. … OF Corey Dickerson (left calf strain) is experiencing less soreness and has resumed hitting and throwing. Martinez said Dickerson’s next step is agility work on the field.
Guardians: RHP Zach Plesac (0-0, 9.00 ERA), who is coming off allowing two runs in seven innings Sunday against Seattle, takes the ball as the three-game series continues.
Nationals: RHP Chad Kuhl (0-0, 8.10) is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in two career starts against Cleveland.