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Final score: Mets 11, Nationals 9—Defense almost betrays an offensive carnival

Mets almost blow a 9-0 lead and win on a Lindor home run in extras

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game One Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Mets took a 9-0 lead after scoring in each of the first four innings, only to allow the Nationals to crawl back and tie the game on a two-run home run from Andrew Stevenson with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. A Francisco Lindor home run in the top of the ninth finally gave the Mets the needed separation as they won 11-9 in extras.

After the Mets scored two runs in the first inning, a Javy Báez home run kicked off a four-run second inning that developed as the Mets exploited defensive mistakes from Alcides Escobar and Josh Bell. A Patrick Mazeika RBI single in the third inning and a two-run home run from Michael Conforto in the fifth inning made the score 9-0, and it looked like the Mets were cruising to their sixth or seventh straight victory. Looked like it, anyway.

Marcus Stroman, who had pitched three challenging but scoreless innings, gave up three in fourth and none in the fifth to line himself up for the win. He also added a spectacular play at third base in the third inning, diving towards an unmanned third base to tag Juan Soto out on the basepaths after a botched double-play attempt from Báez and Jonathan Villar.

The Nationals clawed back in the sixth inning after a throwing error from Lindor and a bad transfer on a double play attempt from Báez set up a two-run double from Escobar. Brad Hand made his Mets debut facing Juan Soto with runners on second and third, and though he forced a ground ball to first base, Soto hustling down the line and a bad throw from Alonso allowed both runners to score. A Josh Bell single brought Ryan Zimmerman up to bat representing the go-ahead run, but Hand forced a successful double-play ball to Villar as the Mets exited the inning with a 9-7 lead.

Seth Lugo struck out Keibert Ruiz for the first out of the final scheduled inning before allowing an automatic double to Carter Kieboom, bringing the tying run to the plate. Luis García then grounded out on a swinging bunt in front of home plate, but down to their last out, Andrew Stevenson tied the game with a two-run home run. Lugo then struck out Lane Thomas to force extra innings for the second game in a row.

Unlike the previous game, the Mets couldn’t muster a run in the top of the eighth, with a flyout from Kevin Pillar, a strikeout from Villar, and a popout from Albert Almora failing to even advance the free runner Mazeika from second base. In the bottom of the inning, Trevor May forced a pop out from Escobar before the Mets intentionally walked Soto. May then unintentionally walked Bell to bring up Gerardo Parra with one out and the winning run on third base, and a very tense at-bat ended with Parra striking out. May then forced Ruiz to pop out to center field, sending the game to the ninth inning.

Lindor led off the top of the ninth with a two-run home run that scored the free runner Almora from second base, giving the Mets an 11-9 lead. Alonso followed with a single past Escobar, but strikeouts from J.D. Davis and Báez and a flyout from McNeil sent it to the bottom of the inning. Heath Hembree entered the bottom of the inning to try to save the game for the Mets, and promptly threw a 0-2 pitch wild to advance the free runner Ruiz to third before striking out Kieboom on the next pitch. He then forced a flyout from García and a flyout from Stevenson to secure the victory.

The second half of the doubleheader is scheduled to start at 6:05, though it won’t be much of a surprise if a delay is announced soon due to the 4+ hour runtime from the first game. Tylor Megill is scheduled to start for the Mets.

GameThread Roll Call

MetsFan4Decades: 171

Notonthebandwagon: 86

SwissCheez: 72

Syndergaard’s Lunch: 60

LaRomaBella: 54

Knurk: 48

doctor prancer: 44

rcnt123: 41

Mr.kefmet: 33

AnneInFlushing: 25

Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; her effort in the GameThread embiggens us all.