Nelson Cruz powers Mariners past Nationals, ending five-game losing streak

Nelson Cruz hammered a three-run home run in the sixth inning to put the Mariners ahead for good, and Seattle snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Nationals 4-2 on Thursday afternoon.

WASHINGTON D.C. — It wasn’t the emotional and deserved criticism from their manager less than 24 hours before, questioning their intensity and effort. It wasn’t seeing Scott Servais getting ejected midgame for having issues with the typically meandering and unpredictable strike zone of home-plate umpire Adam Hamari.

No, the key to the Mariners’ 4-2 win over the Nationals on Thursday was not being beaten before their hitters got to their second at-bat of the game. It’s funny how something less than a five-run deficit after the third or fourth inning can change a team’s prospects for victory.

“I thought our guys really responded to a disappointing effort last night, and it says a lot about our team,” Servais said. “They rallied together. We got after it. Everybody contributed today. It’s so important.”

Friday

M’s @ Boston, 4:10 p.m.,ROOT Sports

The adrenaline of playing in a close, competitive game — something that hasn’t happened often enough — helped the Mariners respond.

“We want to play better than we have been,” Servais said. “Hopefully we can build on that.”

With the win, the Mariners snapped their current five-game losing streak while notching their first road win in Washington D.C. in nine tries. And while this brutal trip heads to Fenway Park for three games, Seattle at least won’t go winless during the eight-game stretch.

“Everything starts with one game, one win,” said Nelson Cruz.

Starter Ariel Miranda gave Seattle its best outing since, well, Ariel Miranda’s last outing. The lanky lefty pitched five innings, giving up two runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts. It’s a mediocre starting line to most, but to the Mariners it was hope for…

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