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Mets’ bats, bullpen lead the way in win over lowly Nationals


If the Mets suffered a letdown following their thrilling series victory over the Dodgers, it didn’t last long. 

The Mets, who have gone from facing the majors’ best team to the majors’ worst, broke open a tie game with a four-run sixth inning and rode a solid bullpen effort to a 7-3 win over the Nationals in front of 33,630 at Citi Field on Friday night. 

In opening a stretch of 16 straight games against teams below .500, the Mets mostly played like a team below .500 — running into a few outs on the basepaths and allowing Washington to score its first run on a throwing errors by catcher Tomas Nido — but their bats and late-inning arms were there when needed. 

Eduardo Escobar and Pete Alonso each homered to help the Mets remain three games up on the Braves, who beat the Marlins. 

“There’s always been a sense of urgency with these guys since the first day of spring, things they want to accomplish,” manager Buck Showalter said after the Mets (85-48) moved a season-high 37 games over .500, the highest mark since they finished the 1988 season 100-60. “So it doesn’t surprise me that they’re continuing to be engaged in the competition.” 

Eduardo Escobar celebrates after his two-run homer.
Eduardo Escobar celebrates after his two-run homer.
Robert Sabo for the NY POST
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates his go-ahead home run during the sixth inning against the Nationals on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at Citi Field.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates his go-ahead home run during the sixth inning against the Nationals.
Robert Sabo/New York Post

The Mets snapped a 3-3 tie when Alonso, who more often has been snapping bats recently, homered off Nationals starter Josiah Gray on the second pitch of the bottom of the sixth. It was Alonso’s 32nd homer of the season and was much-needed from a slugger who had been hitting .200 over his past 20 games. 

“Pete’s in scoring position when he’s in the batter’s box,” Showalter said of Alonso, who has 26 game-winning RBIs this season, the most since the stat was officially tracked in 1974. 

The home run was just the start of a Mets breakout. 

Daniel Vogelbach followed with a walk before Jeff McNeil (3-for-4) lined a single that knocked Gray out of the game. Mark Canha, facing righty Steve Cishek, lined a single to load the bases without an out. 

Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (1) doubles during the fourth inning of a game against the Nationals on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at Citi Field.
Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (1) doubles during the fourth inning of a game against the Nationals.
Robert Sabo/New York Post

Tyler Naquin pinch-ran for Vogelbach. That was important because Escobar lifted a sacrifice fly to right field on a play that drove in Naquin and sent McNeil to third. Canha, however, was doubled off while trying a delayed tag-up to second. But a clutch RBI single from Nido and a Brandon Nimmo RBI triple — on a ball misread by center fielder Victor Robles, who initially broke in — extended the Mets’ lead, which was not threatened because of their bullpen. 

The unit lacked its two biggest weapons, Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino, who had pitched the Mets to victories over the Dodgers two days in a row. In a bullpen searching for contributors, Mychal Givens stepped up most in their absence. 

The trade-deadline pickup replaced David Peterson with the score tied 3-3 in the top of the sixth with one out and Ildemaro Vargas, the potential go-ahead run, on second base. Givens retired Victor Robles and CJ Abrams to escape the frame, then returned with a solid seventh inning. 

“You can tell he’s really excited to be here and wants to contribute some now that he’s had two or three outings under his belt,” Showalter said of Givens, who, after a rough debut with the Mets, has allowed two runs in his past eight innings. “You can tell he’s feeling better about being the contributor that he can be.” 

Mychal Givens pitches on Friday during the Mets' win over the Nationals.
Mychal Givens pitches on Friday during the Mets’ win over the Nationals.
Michelle Farsi/New York Post

Joely Rodriguez and Seth Lugo finished off the work for the bullpen, which threw 3 ²/₃ scoreless innings. 

The Mets, who have won 11 of 14 games against the Nationals (45-87) this season, struck first in the second inning, when Escobar launched his 13th homer of the season. 

Peterson allowed the Nationals to hang around, though he wasn’t entirely to blame. 

In the third, Peterson was hurt doubly by Nido. The lefty allowed a leadoff triple to Robles, then induced a ground out from Abrams and struck out Lane Thomas on a nasty slider in the dirt. But Nido tried to gun down Robles at third and short-hopped his throw to a scrambling Escobar, who did not get to the base quickly enough and watched as the ball skipped past him. Robles scored and Thomas took first base, reaching on the strikeout, which was not caught cleanly. 

Washington added a run apiece in the fifth and sixth innings on an RBI single from Alex Call and an RBI double from Vargas. That hit chased Peterson after 5 ¹/₃ innings, in which he allowed three runs on eight hits. 

Peterson may have made his final start of the season, with Carlos Carrasco due back Sunday and the Mets’ bullpen in need of a lefty. 

“I don’t have any information on that,” Peterson said about his next assignment. 

The Mets’ bullpen received help Friday and may have more on the way.



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