The Mets, who we must remind you are good, took the opening game of a three-game series with the Nationals with a 4-2 win this evening.
Carlos Carrasco started for the Mets, and looked sharp early on, striking out four across the first three innings. Unfortunately, Patrick Corbin looked sharp as well, limiting the Mets to just two hits and a walk over the first three innings.
The fourth inning proved to be the busiest on the basepads early on. The Mets got the leadoff man on with a Francisco Lindor infield single. Pete Alonso then drew his second walk of the game, putting two on with no out. However, the Mets failed to capitalize.
The Nats, on the other hand, were able to take advantage of the glut of baserunners. Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz hit back to back singles with one out. A Yadiel Hernandez ground out put runners on the corners for Maikel Franco. Franco drove a ball to right center field, scoring Bell. A terrible send by former Mets coach Gary DiSarcina saw Hernandez thrown out by a bus length at home to end the inning. The play was facilitated by Brandon Nimmo cutting off the ball nicely, making a perfect relay throw to Jeff McNeil, followed by a perfect relay throw from McNeil.
The Mets started the fifth with two walks but, again, were unable to score on Corbin. Catcher Riley Adams would tag Carrasco for his second run of the game with a home run to left field. The good news for the Mets is that Carl Edwards relieved Corbin in the top of the sixth. Singles by Alonso and J.D. Davis put two men on with none out, a familiar refrain on the night.
However, Jeff McNeil tattooed a ball that Bell couldn’t handle at first base, leading to Alonso and Davis to score and tie the game. A sacrifice fly off the bat of James McCann would give the Mets the lead.
While this rally was occurring, a rat ran onto the outfield. Baseball is weird and wonderful.
Carrasco would continue to cruise into the seventh inning. A bunt single by Dee Strange-Gordon would lead to Buck Showalter pulling Cookie from the game with two outs. Drew Smith relieved Carrasco, and got two strikes on Adams before McCann threw an absolute bullet to cut down Strange-Gordon and end the inning.
Smith got two hard-earned outs in the bottom of the eighth, but was relieved ahead of Juan Soto in favor of Joely Rodriguez, who needed just one pitch to retire Soto on a pop-up.
The top of the ninth saw Mark Canha reach on a terrible throw by Franco, followed by a single by Lindor, which saw the Nats walk Alonso to load the bases. Davis would add an insurance run on a sacrifice fly.
Edwin Diaz came in and slammed the door for the Mets, allowing a single to Cruz, but erasing him on a game-ending double play.
In the 31st game of the season, this was the 11th game the Nationals lost after having a lead. That is a staggering number.
Of particular note this evening was how entertaining the broadcast was. Keith Hernandez, side-lined for much of the young season so far, was in rare form, quoting James Cagney, showing x-rays of his recent root canal, and generally just being Keith Hernandez. It was a delight.
Tomorrow, the Mets will send the man who won on Opening Day in Nationals Park, Tylor Megill, to face off against Aaron Sanchez.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winner: Jeff McNeil, +32.6% WPA
Big loser: Starling Marte, -21.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +41.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: +8.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil’s game-tying double, +26.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Riley Adams’s solo home run, -11.3% WPA