Mariners win 9th straight behind Suárez’s 3-run home run

The M’s have their first nine-game winning streak since a nine-game run from May 27 to June 5, 2003.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eugenio Suárez hit a three-run homer, Chris Flexen threw six solid innings to win his fourth straight start, and the Seattle Mariners earned their ninth straight win by beating the Washington Nationals on Wednesday in the first game 6-4 defeated a day-night doubleheader.

Jesse Winker, Adam Frazier and Cal Raleigh hit solo homers for Seattle, which last had nine straight wins in 2003 (May 27-June 5). The rising Mariners also won 17 of 20 for the first time since April 2-23, 2002.

“We win games in a lot of different ways, and I think that’s the hallmark of a really good team,” said Winker, who is returning after a six-game suspension for his role in a June 26 fight with the Los Angeles Angels.

Juan Soto, who ran down between the third and home game on Nelson Cruz’s double late in the seventh, tried to help the Nationals 6-4 with a three-run homer in the ninth inning against Penn Murfee with two outs. But Paul Sewald withdrew Cruz for his 11th save.

“At the end of the day it feels worse when I hit the ball. Because the things that happened on the bases and everything, you can see how close the game was going to be,” said Soto, who now has 18 homers and a 14-game hitting streak.

Flexen (6-8) held a 3-0 lead before throwing a throw and giving up a run on six hits while walking two and batting one. He has a 2.88 ERA in his last seven starts.

“To take the lead so early, you have to step on the gas and stay in the zone,” said Flexen. “I was just trying to attack and compete and put us in a situation where we can win.”

The Nationals, who have lost five straight games and 11 of 12, also saw the performance of Keibert Ruiz, who had a doubles and a singles.

Washington starter Josiah Gray (7-6) allowed five runs on six hits, three of them home runs, in five innings. He walked three and struck seven.

Gray struggled with his control early on, walking two of the first three batters in the first inning before Suárez homed with a 0-1 fastball to the left.

“He had trouble adjusting,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Gray. “Often the most vulnerable starting pitchers are in that first inning. He really didn’t have a feel for the hitting zone and we took advantage of that.”

Winker and Frazier’s solo shots came in the fourth.

Washington loaded bases against Flexen with no outs in the fifth but opted for Luis Garcia’s sacrifice fly to make it 5-1 before Flexen pulled Josh Bell and Cruz a walk back to Soto.

The second game is a replay of the game that rained on Tuesday.

The Nationals announced after the game that they had called up RHP Tyler Clippard and placed RHP Tanner Rainey on the 60-day injured list with a right UCL sprain. Clippard, 37, was 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA and a save at Triple-A Rochester. He previously spent seven years with Washington (2008-14) and was 34-24 with a 2.68 ERA and 34 saves. Rainey, 29, went 1-3 with 12 saves and a 3.30 ERA in 29 games this season.

Mariners all-star midfielder Julio Rodríguez has been handed a one-game suspension for his involvement in the brawl with the Angels. All sanctioned Mariners have now served their suspensions.

Nationals: LHP Josh Rogers (left shoulder impingement) pitched 5 1/3 innings in a rehab start with Double-A Harrisburg Tuesday night. He allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts. … RHP Hunter Harvey (Right Pronator Strain) made his first major league appearance since April 20, scoring a scoreless sixth inning.

Mariners RHP Erik Swanson (0-0, 0.79 ERA) will serve as the opener in Game 2 of the twinbill and LHP Tommy Milone, previously announced as the opener, will follow. The Nationals will start RHP Erick Fedde (5-6, 5.01 ERA), who has never faced the Mariners. Mariners win 9th straight behind Suárez’s 3-run home run

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