WASHINGTON (AP) — Riley Adams had a career-high four hits and finished a triple short of the cycle as the Washington Nationals tied their season high with 18 hits in a 6-4 win over the Detroit Tigers 6-4 on Sunday.
The backup catcher homered, singled and doubled in his first three at-bats, then hit a bloop double in the seventh in his first game since May 14.
"Getting pitches in the zone and being aggressive," said Adams, whose averaged jumped from .192 to .300 in eight games. "It’s been a goal of mine to be a little more aggressive and swing at strikes. That was the best part and hopefully we can build on that for next time.”
Ildemaro Vargas hit his first home run since last Aug. 28 and Jeimer Candelario had four singles.
Josiah Gray (4-5) allowed one run and three hits over five inning but matched his career high with six walks. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his past nine starts.
Hunter Harvey pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.
Nick Maton had a homer and a single for the Tigers, who fell behind 6-1 in the third inning. Detroit failed to take advantage of eight walks and went 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 runners.
“We didn’t do enough with our at-bats with guys in scoring position," Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. "We tried to chip away. We didn’t chip away enough.”
Maton’s homer’s and Zach McKinstry’s RBI single cut the deficit to 6-3 in the sixth. Manager Dave Martinez called on late-innings reliever Kyle Finnegan, who escaped a bases-loaded jam when Spencer Torkelson popped out.
“For me it was a big turning point," Martinez said. “They had momentum and we had to stop the fire. We got him up really quick. He came out and shut it down.”
Joey Wentz (1-4) allowed six runs and a season-high 10 hits in two-plus innings.
“They ambushed Joey a little bit and he just couldn’t get the ball off the barrel enough," Hinch said.
Joey Meneses, Stone Garrett and Dominic Smith had RBIs in the first as Washington's first four batters singled and built a 3-0 lead.
Adams hit a solo homer leading off the second and Vargas chased Wentz with a two-run homer in the third, giving the struggling Gray a cushion.
"I felt good pregame and then I just got out there and things weren’t going well," Gray said. “Hats off to the offense for putting up six runs in the first three innings because if this is a tight game then things could have gotten ugly.”
The bottom three in the Washington order, Vargas, Michael Chavis and Adams, went 7 for 12 subbing for regulars CJ Abrams, Luis Garcia, and Keibert Ruiz. Chavis made a heads up defensive play at second base in the seventh. With runners on second and third and no outs, he fielded a sharp grounder by Akil Baddoo and threw out Maton, attempting to go to third, for the first out.
Tigers: RHP Michael Lorenzen (2-2, 3.44), who has pitched at least six innings and allowed one or fewer earned runs in each of his past three starts, pitches the series opener Monday at Kansas City.
Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (3-3, 3.69) faces his former team for the first time when Washington opens a three-game series against visiting San Diego on Tuesday.