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Mets bounce back from rough defeat to claim game and series from Nationals

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Three home runs from the offense and solid work from Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson in the bullpen lead to 8-4 victory.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

An afternoon getaway game meant that the Mets had to bounce back quickly from a devastating ninth-inning collapse the previous night. Chances did not look good in the early going, as Zack Wheeler struggled early. The Nationals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning, as with two outs and none on, Wheeler surrendered consecutive singles to Gerardo Parra, pitcher Anibal Sanchez and Trea Turner. The Nets loaded the bases, but Anthony Rendon flew out to left to end the threat.

The Mets managed to answer right back in the top of the third, when Juan Lagares led off the frame with a home run to dead center to tie the game. While Wheeler would struggle—throwing 101 pitches and stranding eight over his five frames— he would keep Washington off the board the rest of his outing. In the interim, a Robinson Cano two-run shot in the fourth and a Pete Alonso solo blast down the left field line in the fifth—his MLB-leading 45th. of the year—gave the Mets a 4-1 lead through five.

The Mets would extended the lead further thanks to a three run rally in the top of the sixth, highlighted by RBI singles from Amed Rosario and Jeff McNeil. Jeurys Familia came on in the bottom of the frame and promptly gave the three runs right back, cutting the lead to 7-4 and perhaps giving Mets fans flashbacks to the previous night’s bullpen implosion.

However, this time the bullpen was able to make a six run lead ultimately hold up. A second Jeff McNeil RBI single in the eighth restored a four run cushion as the Mets’ two lone reliable relievers—Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson—held the Nationals scoreless over the final three scoreless innings to lock down the 8-4 victory.

The win secured a series win against the Nationals and what would ordinarily feel like an incredibly successful 4-2 road trip against division rivals also in the playoff race. However, the success of the teams in front of them combined with the shrinking calendar make the the lost opportunity of the previous night sting all the more, as the Mets are 4.5 games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card with only 23 games remaining as they return home for a huge 10 game home stand.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Robinson Cano, +24.1%WPA, Zack Wheeler, +15.4% WPA
Big losers: Jeurys Familia, -10.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +18.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: +31.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Robinson Cano’s two run home run in the top of the third, +15.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: J.D. Davis double play ground out in the top of the second, -10.8% WPA