WASHINGTON (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit his 450th home run and added a tiebreaking two-run single in a three-run eighth inning that lifted the Washington Nationals over the Mets 4-2 on Sunday and prevented New York from an opening four-game sweep.
Washington trailed 2-1 in the eighth when Yadiel Hernández singled leading off against Chasen Shreve, and Maikel Franco singled pinch-runner Dee Strange-Gordon to third against Trevor Williams (0-1).
Lucius Fox, who started in his major league debut, dragged a safety squeeze sacrifice bunt, and Strange-Gordon slid home headfirst ahead of first baseman Pete Alonso’s underhand toss.
Victor Robles sacrificed and Cesar Hernandez grounded to Alonso, whose throw to second for a force was wide to the right field side for an error. Juan Soto grounded to Alonso, who threw home for a forceout.
Cruz, who put the Nationals ahead in the first inning with his first home run for Washington. grounded a fastball up the middle and just past shortstop Francisco Lindor for a 4-2 lead.
Kyle Finnegan (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth, and Tanner Rainey worked around Mark Canha’s leadoff single in the ninth for his first save.
New York had been trying for its fifth 4-0 starts, its first since 2012. The Mets have not swept the Nationals in Washington since 2018.
Erick Fedde became Washington’s first starter to pitch five innings, allowing two runs and five hits. Francisco Lindor’s first homer tied the game in a 34-pitch fifth, when Canha hit a go-ahead single.
Mets starter Carlos Carrasco retired 15 consecutive batters after allowing a first-inning single to Josh Bell. Carrasco allowed two hits, struck out five and walked none in 5 2/3 innings.
Mets closer Edwin Díaz remains away from the team after the death of his grandfather. He is expected to rejoin the team Monday in Philadelphia and is eligible to be activated Tuesday.
Mets: OF Starling Marte was not in Sunday’s starting lineup. Marte had oblique soreness at the start of spring training. Showalter said Marte “feels great” but the manager wants to be cautious.
Nationals: RHP Aníbal Sánchez is “doubtful” for Monday’s expected start in Atlanta because of a stiff neck. The Nationals also placed RHP Mason Thompson (right biceps strain) on the 10-day injured list. RHP Hunter Harvey was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker will make his season debut Monday in Philadelphia.
Nationals: Were unsure who will start Monday in Atlanta.
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