Two days after the Mets and Nationals played a low-scoring game that featured outstanding pitching from Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, the stage was set for another pitchers’ duel on Saturday afternoon in D.C. With Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg starting, it wouldn’t have been surprising if the game looked like the one from Opening Day, but it didn’t look that way at all.
The Mets didn’t waste any time getting to Strasburg. Wilson Ramos doubled to plate the Mets’ first two runs of the afternoon, and Jeff McNeil drove him in with a triple. The Nationals in the bottom of the inning, but the Mets answered with a run of their own in the top of the second thanks to a Pete Alonso double that brought home Noah Syndergaard, who had singled earlier in the inning.
But Syndergaard gave up two more runs in the third and one more in the sixth, with the latter tying the game. In total, Syndergaard pitched six innings, struck out seven, didn’t issue any walks, and gave up four runs on seven hits, throwing 103 pitches in the process. It certainly wasn’t a dazzling debut, but with a talented Nationals lineup facing him, Syndergaard merely looked human.
Neither team scored in the seventh, but the Mets took the lead and then some in the top of the eighth. Wilson Ramos started things off with an infield single on a dribbler to shortstop that made Trea Turner immediately look embarrassed. Jeff McNeil singled, and Amed Rosario drew a walk to load the bases for J.D. Davis, who was in the starting lineup at third. Davis singled to drive in two runs and give the Mets the lead.
Kyle Barraclough came in to take over for Trevor Rosenthal, who had started the eighth. Barraclough balked before he threw a pitch to give the Mets their third run of the inning, and a couple of outs later, Pete Alonso doubled to score the fourth and final run of the frame.
In the ninth, the Mets scored three more times on a one-run double from Jeff McNeil and a two-run single off the bat of Dominic Smith, who had been double-switched into the game earlier.
Things got a bit hairy in the bottom of the ninth. Seth Lugo had taken over for Jeurys Familia with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and remained in the game for the ninth. He gave up four runs in the inning and threw 41 pitches before he was pulled in favor of Edwin Diaz. With a runner on second, Diaz induced an easy fly out to left field from Kurt Suzuki.
It certainly wasn’t the prettiest game, but the Mets were never really on the brink of losing it once they go scored the late runs. And they’ve now officially begun the season with a pair of wins over the Nationals. Taking a series from a division rival in the first two games of the season is great, and the Mets will have the chance to sweep the Nationals on Sunday afternoon with Zack Wheeler on the mound opposite Patrick Corbin.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Wilson Ramos, +21.2% WPA, Jeff McNeil, +18.5% WPA, Pete Alonso, +15.9% WPA, Amed Rosario, +10.0% WPA
Big losers: Robinson Cano, -10.9% WPA, Noah Syndergaard, -10.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos doubles to score the Mets’ first two runs of the game in the top of the first, +16.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Juan Soto doubles in the bottom of the sixth, -10.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +1.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +48.3% WPA