Call them the smoke and mirror Mets.
Down five projected starters, a few days removed from their manager’s job being believed to be in serious jeopardy, the Mets have put together their first four-game winning streak of the season after beating Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg on consecutive days. Or, to be more accurate, the Nationals bullpen.
As John Sterling would say to his broadcast partner, “That’s baseball, Suzyn.”
The Mets, who placed Jeff McNeil (hamstring) and Robinson Cano (quad) on the injured list before the game a day after Brandon Nimmo (stiff neck) was put on the IL, did the little things at the plate against Strasburg, manufacturing three runs. And Carlos Gomez did the rest, blasting a game-winning, three-run homer off Wander Suero to bail out Robert Gsellman as the Mets finished off a four-game sweep of the reeling Nationals, 6-4, in front of 29,962 at Citi Field.
Dominic Smith led off the eighth with a double, but was still at second after Todd Frazier and Pete Alonso struck out. After Wilson Ramos was intentionally walked, Gomez turned on a 1-2, 95-mph cut fastball for his first homer since starting his second go-round with the Mets a week ago.
It made a winner out of Gsellman, who allowed three eighth-inning runs with two outs. Surprisingly, less than 24 hours after manager Mickey Callaway said he could use closer Edwin Diaz for more than an inning, Callaway didn’t go to him with two on and two out, and Gerardo Parra made him pay with a two-run single. It, however, didn’t hold up.
Steven Matz walked a tightrope over six innings, allowing 10 hits, four of them for extra bases. The Nationals had 11 chances against him with runners in scoring position and had just a single hit, Brian Dozier’s bunt that plated their lone run.
Matz pitched around a leadoff triple in the second. He induced the Nationals into a pair of inning-ending double plays with a man on third and one out. He struck out seven, five of them coming with runners in scoring position to pick up his first victory since April 28.
The Mets struck first in the fifth, after Gomez singled, stole second and reached third on catcher Yan Gomes’ throwing error. Juan Lagares, the hero of Wednesday night’s victory, drove him in with a sacrifice fly.
That lead vanished fast. Two pitches into the sixth inning, the Nationals were even, after Juan Soto doubled and scored on Dozier’s bunt single when second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria air-mailed his glove flip. Dozier, however, was thrown out trying to go to third, which bit the Nationals since Victor Robles followed with an identical bunt single.
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