Bell big for Nationals in return home in a 2-1 win at Texas

Jun 24, 2022, 9:28 AM | Updated: 9:34 pm
Washington Nationals' Josh Bell connects for a run-scoring single in the eighth inning of a basebal...

Washington Nationals' Josh Bell connects for a run-scoring single in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. Juan Soto scored on the hit. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Josh Bell was already feeling good at the plate, and it felt really nice to keep hitting in his return home to Texas.

Bell hit a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning, and also had a triple and double while scoring Washington’s only other run, as the Nationals won 2-1 on Friday night in their first interleague game at Texas in 17 years.

“That was cool. It was cool just knowing that I had some friends and family here,” said Bell, the big first baseman who is from nearby Irving, Texas. “Friends that played baseball with me growing up, being able to do this in front of them makes it all that more special,”

As a high school player, Bell hit a home run in the Rangers’ former stadium across the street, where he also played with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019. A long ball was all that was missing to keep him from a cycle with the Nationals.

Bell had a two-out triple in the first that ricocheted hard after hitting near the top of the right field wall. He scored the game’s first run in the sixth, when he had a one-out double before Luis Garcia’s ground-rule double that bounced into the Texas bullpen in right-center field.

“He had a great night. He’s been consistent for us all year long, he’s playing well,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Love him. He goes out there every day, you know what you’re going to get from him. He’s a professional. Right now, he’s having some big hits for him.”

Juan Soto led off the Nats eighth with a double off just-in reliever Dennis Santana (3-3) before Bell followed with his hit that was the difference. Bell, who estimated 30-40 friends and family being there with more expected over the weekend, is 11 for 27 (.407) his last eight games to raise his season average 12 points to .302.

“Right now, I feel really good. I was able to kind of expand the zone a little bit and hit a ground ball up the middle,” Bell said. “I’m definitely happy to be locked in.”

The only other time the Nationals had played at Texas was in June 2005, when Bell was a couple of months shy of his 13th birthday.

That is the longest gap any opponent has gone between games at the Rangers, according to Elias Sports Bureau. But there have been nine longer such spans of teams visiting others since interleague play began in 1997.

Adolis Garcia homered and had his sixth outfield assist of the season for the Rangers, who had won their previous six interleague games before leaving 10 runners on base.

“We had a chance to win the game,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Tied after six. I’ll take our bullpen over theirs and our hitters over theirs honestly. So that’s a missed opportunity to me. When you got to tie game with three innings left, we’ve got to find a way to win that game.”

Carl Edwards (1-1) worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the victory. Hard-throwing Tanner Rainey worked the ninth for his ninth save in 12 chances, even after he walked a batter and then gave up a single to Brad Miller, the utility player in his 1,000th big league game.

Garcia led off the sixth with his 14th homer, a 423-foot drive that made it 1-1. His outfield assist came on a no-hop throw from right-center to catcher Jonah Heim that easily beat Nelson Cruz to the plate by several feet in the fourth.

Cruz, a week before his 42nd birthday, had led off that inning with a double in his return to Texas, where he was twice an All-Star and was the 2011 AL Championship Series MVP while playing there from 2006-13.


Rangers right-hander Dane Dunning, who has gone without a win in his last 10 starts since the end of April, struck out four, walked one and allowed a run over six innings. Washington righty Paolo Espino, in his third time through the starting rotation after 20 relief appearances, also allowed one run in his 5 1/3 innings.


Nationals: GM Mike Rizzo told that there’s no rush to put a plan together for RHP Stephen Strasburg. “He can’t do anything until he’s pain free and feeling good. He’s not there yet,” Rizzo said. Strasburg had surgery last summer for thoracic outlet syndrome. The 2019 World Series MVP was diagnosed with a stress reaction of the ribs after his only start this season, at Miami on June 9, when he allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.


Nats right-hander Josiah Gray (6-4, 3.95 ERA) has allowed only one earned run over 17 innings in his three June starts. Texas is going with a bullpen day, though Taylor Hearn (4-5, 6.25) could be part of that after being pulled from his rotation spot. The lefty allowed 17 runs in 18 2/3 innings in his four June starts.


More AP MLB: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Portland Thorns midfielder Olivia Moultrie celebrates after scoring a penalty kick against the Hous...
Associated Press

Olivia Moultrie proud of stand she took to play in NWSL

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — It’s been a little more than a year since Olivia Moultrie signed with the Portland Thorns after suing to join the National Women’s Soccer League at just 15 years old. For Moultrie, the lasting lesson of her legal odyssey is that women should have the same opportunities to reach the top […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Alex Palou, of Spain, waits in his pits during qualifications for an IndyCar auto race at In...
Associated Press

Column: Palou persevering through Ganassi contract chaos

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The conversation, if one could even call it that, might not have lasted even 10 seconds. It was more of an exchange between Chip Ganassi, who took a moment to congratulate Alex Palou, the driver he is suing because the IndyCar champion is trying to leave his team at the end […]
16 hours ago
Serena Williams, of the United States, returns the ball during a match with Nuria Parrizas-Diaz, of...
Associated Press

Serena Williams earns first win of season in Toronto

TORONTO (AP) — Serena Williams hadn’t won in so long, she said she couldn’t even remember the feeling. She picked up her first victory since the 2021 French Open on Monday, beating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4 at the women’s National Bank Open. “I’m just happy to get a win. It’s been a very long time, […]
16 hours ago
Kevin Harvick celebrates with his daughter Piper after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at t...
Associated Press

Harvick win complicates NASCAR playoff spots in final weeks

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — NASCAR just got more interesting down the stretch. Kevin Harvick won his first Cup race in nearly two years at Michigan International Speedway over the weekend — a result that could mean a driver who has a win getting knocked out of the playoffs. “It creates a big bubble,” Harvick said […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Baseball Hall of Famer and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis Eckersley applauds during pr...
Associated Press

Hall of Famer Eckersley to leave Red Sox booth after season

BOSTON (AP) — Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley said Monday that he will be leaving the Boston Red Sox broadcasts at the end of the season, his 50th in Major League Baseball. Eckersley, who was drafted by Cleveland as a California high schooler in 1972, went on to pitch 24 seasons as both a […]
2 days ago
Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks during NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Day...
Associated Press

Alabama No. 1 in preseason coaches’ poll; Ohio St. 2, UGA 3

Alabama was voted No. 1 in the preseason USA Today coaches’ poll released Monday, with Ohio State second and defending national champion Georgia third. The Associated Press preseason Top 25 will be released Aug. 15. The Crimson Tide received 54 first-place votes from a panel of 66 major college football coaches. Alabama is coming off […]
2 days ago
Bell big for Nationals in return home in a 2-1 win at Texas