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Final Score: Nationals 4, Mets 2—No longer undefeated

A disastrous eighth inning leads to the first Mets loss of 2022.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

A very solid season debut from Carlos Carrasco was spoiled by a combination of poor bullpen management and poor defense, as the Mets drop the opening series finale 4-2 to the Nationals in Washington DC.

In a similar fashion to a lot of his 2021 starts, Carlos Carrasco was shaky early, but then settled in. He threw over 20 pitches in the first inning and surrendered a solo homer to Nelson Cruz to put the Nationals on top 1-0, along with a hard-hit single by Josh Bell. But, Carrasco limited the damage and narrowly avoided giving up another solo homer to Yadiel Hernandez in the second inning that was killed by the wind. After that, Carrasco was lights out, striking out five hitters over his 5 23 innings of work.

The Mets took the lead in the fourth, which began with a Francisco Lindor solo homer off Erick Fedde to tie the game. Then, with two outs, Eduardo Escobar laced a double, Dominic Smith walked, and Mark Canha came through with the go-ahead RBI single. Juan Soto made a fantastic diving catch on Canha’s liner to right, but the ball popped out of Soto’s glove as he landed, allowing the Mets to take the lead.

That’s all the Mets could manage against Erick Fedde and then things fell apart for them in the eighth. After retiring Soto in relief of Carrasco to finish the sixth inning, Chasen Shreve pitched a scoreless seventh inning as well, but then was left in to begin the eighth inning to face the lefty Yadiel Hernandez, who hit a leadoff single. Then, instead of turning to his high-leverage relievers, Buck Showalter turned to Trevor Williams instead, who had yet to appear in a game this season. To Williams’ credit, he did not pitch poorly, but the results were certainly poor. Williams gave up a single to Maikel Franco, sending the pinch runner Dee Strange-Gordon to third. Then, Lucius Fox executed a safety squeeze on which Pete Alonso made a lazy, looping throw to the plate that allowed Strange-Gordon to slide across safely with the tying run. Then with one out, Williams induced what should have been an inning-ending double play off the bat of Cesar Hernandez, but Alonso threw wide of second base and so the Mets did not record any outs on the play. Juan Soto strode to the plate with the bases loaded and miraculously hit a chopper in front of the plate that Alonso this time threw accurately home for the force out. But with two out, Nelson Cruz slapped a single up the middle and that was all she wrote.

Tanner Rainey gave up a leadoff single to Mark Canha to start the ninth, but was able to retire the next three hitters to close the door for the Nationals and hand the Mets their first loss of the season.

Full recap to follow.