Francisco Lindor’s blast saves Mets in crazy Game 1 win over Nationals

WASHINGTON — The Mets have an aversion to enjoying the easy life.

For a second straight game, they were rolling until they weren’t and needed extra innings to beat an opponent whose season ended at the trade deadline with the shedding of top stars.

On this day, Francisco Lindor let the Mets exhale with a two-run homer in the ninth inning that sent his team to an 11-9 victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Nationals.

The Mets, who won their seventh straight to move a game above .500, flushed a nine-run lead and needed the two extra frames to beat the Nationals. This after Andrew Stevenson blasted a two-run homer against Seth Lugo in the seventh to tie it 9-9, completing the nine-run turnaround in four innings.

A night earlier Edwin Diaz suffered his first blown save in six weeks, allowing two runs in the ninth to tie it before the Mets won 6-2 in 10 innings.

Lindor went deep against Kyle Finnegan for homer No. 150 in his career. The blast was Lindor’s first since returning from the injured list on Aug. 24, after missing five weeks with an oblique strain. Heath Hembree recorded the final three outs for the save.

Lugo allowed a Carter Kieboom double with one out to begin the Nationals’ seventh-inning rally before retiring Luis Garcia and surrendering the blast to Stevenson.

Francisco Lindor celebrates his two-run homer that gave the Mets an 11-9 win over the Nationals on Saturday.
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Lugo was pitching for a second straight day, after working a scoreless seventh on Friday. The Mets have chosen their spots throughout the season in letting the right-hander work consecutive days because his troubles on occasion rebounding without rest.

It started to get dicey for the Mets in the sixth, when the Nationals scored four times and put the tying runs on base before Brad Hand got Ryan Zimmerman to hit into an inning-ending double play. Miguel Castro allowed four runs (one was unearned following errors by Lindor and Pete Alonso) before Hand, in his Mets debut, escaped.

The Mets handed Marcus Stroman a 9-0 lead in the fourth inning and watched the right-hander roll. Overall, he allowed three earned runs on six hits and three walks over six innings. Stroman allowed four straight batters to reach base in the fourth, leading to the Nationals’ output against him.

Stroman’s athleticism was on full display in the fourth, when he raced to uncovered third base and received Javier Baez’s throw, nailing Juan Soto. On the play, Jonathan Villar dropped Lindor’s flip to second base on Yadiel Hernandez’s grounder into the shift. Baez picked up the ball and threw to Stroman streaking to third.

The Mets sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs in the second inning to take a 6-0 lead. Baez homered leading off the inning — his fifth blast in 22 games since joining the Mets — and two Washington errors (plus a mental miscue) contributed heavily to the outburst.

After Alcides Escobar booted consecutive grounders for errors, Stroman’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners. Villar followed with a grounder to the pitcher, but with the infielders charging first base was left uncovered. Villar was awarded a gift RBI single that extended the Mets’ lead to 4-0. Before the inning was complete Brandon Nimmo stroked an RBI single and Lindor brought in another run with a sacrifice fly.

But Nimmo was in discomfort after stealing second base and departed in the bottom half of the inning with what the Mets called right hamstring tightness. Albert Almora Jr. played the remainder of the game in center field.

The Mets jumped on Erick Fedde with three straight singles to open the game and took a 2-0 lead. Villar, Nimmo and Lindor singled in succession for the first run before Alonso’s sacrifice fly brought in another.

Patrick Mazeika’s RBI single in the third gave the Mets a 7-0 lead after Baez’s double leading off the inning. Michael Conforto launched a two-run homer in the fourth that extended the lead to 9-0.

New York Post

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