TORONTO (AP) — Keibert Ruiz hit a three-run home run, Carter Kieboom had a two-run drive and the Washington Nationals beat Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Tuesday night, dropping the Blue Jays 3 1/2 games behind Houston for the final AL wild card.
Washington’s Jacob Young got his first major league hit, a bunt single in the seventh. The 24-year-old center fielder, who debuted Saturday, also threw a runner out at the plate to end the eighth and preserve a two-run lead.
“It was awesome,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He threw it right on target. It was beautiful.”
Young also got his first career steal after his base hit, but called the throw his most enduring memory of a big night.
“Helping the team win like that is something I’ll never forget for my first assist,” Young said.
Washington (62-71) is 17-9 in August and moved two games ahead of the last-place New York Mets in the NL East.
“We expect to win when we come to the field,” Nationals left-hander MacKenzie Gore said. “That’s something we’re building.”
Rookie Davis Schneider homered for Toronto, his sixth in 13 big league games, and added an RBI double. The Blue Jays have lost five of seven.
Gore (7-10) allowed one run and six hits in five innings to win for the first time in six starts since July 23.
“He did a good job of keeping his composure and getting us five innings,” Martinez said.
Right-handers Mason Thompson and Hunter Harvey each got five outs before righty Kyle Finnegan survived a shaky ninth inning for his 25th save in 32 chances.
Finnegan gave up back-to-back singles and loaded the base with a walk to George Springer. Finnegan struck out Schneider, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had an RBI grounder and Danny Jansen hit a game-ending foul out.
Toronto finished 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
“You get the dudes up that you want and it didn’t work out,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said of his team’s ninth.
Before the game, the Blue Jays put All-Star shortstop Bo Bichette on the 10-day injured list because of a strained right quadriceps, a move retroactive to Monday. Toronto selected the contract of infielder Mason McCoy from Triple-A Buffalo.
Kieboom connected in the second but Schneider replied with a leadoff homer in the third.
Lane Thomas drew a two-out walk in the fifth, Joey Meneses singled, and Ruiz followed with his 16th homer.
Both Nationals long balls came off José Berríos (9-10), who allowed five runs and six hits in six innings and is winless in four starts.
“Two homers and five runs, I don’t feel happy about it,” Berríos said.
Davis Schneider doubled off the left-field wall to drive in a run and chase Thompson in the seventh. Harvey came on and got Guerrero to ground out.
Whit Merrifield scored on Harvey’s wild pitch in the eighth, with Alejandro Kirk advancing to third. Young ended the inning by throwing Kirk out as tried to score on Daulton Varsho’s flyout.
Blue Jays: Manager John Schneider called Bichette’s strain mild and said the two-time AL hits leader won’t participate in baseball activities for a couple of days. He said Bichette might be ready to play again as soon as the 10 days are up. … 1B/DH Brandon Belt (back spasms) was not available.
RHP Chris Bassitt (12-7, 4.00 ERA) is Toronto’s scheduled starter for Wednesday afternoon’s series finale. LHP Patrick Corbin (9-11, 4.70) goes for Washington.