The Orioles were 0-51 when trailing after eight innings, and the Washington Nationals had closer Brad Hand, who’d saved two games against them in May.
Down 4-3, Hand (5-4) hit Maikel Franco with a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth. Ryan McKenna, who’d earlier hit his first major league home run, singled to right-center, sending Franco to third. Pinch-hitter Austin Hays walked to load the bases. Pat Valaika’s sacrifice fly to right scored Franco to tie the score, 4-4.
Ramón Urías pinch-hit for catcher Austin Wynns and grounded sharply to third. McKenna broke for home on contact. Carter Kieboom fielded the ball cleanly and threw home to catcher Tres Barrera. McKenna’s speed and a headfirst slide just beat the tag by Barrera. After a brief review, McKenna was ruled safe and the Orioles (34-64) had a three-game sweep over the Nationals (45-53) before an announced crowd of 15,690 at Oriole Park on Sunday.
“I was going on contact there,” McKenna said after the Orioles’ 5-4 comeback victory. “It was the right play, right read.”
Cole Sulser (3-1) retired the only batter he faced in the ninth for the win.
In addition to their first win when trailing after eight, it was the Orioles’ third three-game sweep, and the team’s sixth three-game winning streak.
“It’s something we haven’t done,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s nice to get a sweep. It’s nice to have a come-from-behind win. We haven’t had…