WASHINGTON (AP) ��� The New York Mets wobbled into Nationals Park this weekend with a six-game losing streak, beset by injuries and lined up to face Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and the team with the best record in the majors.
Two days later, things don’t look quite so bleak for the Mets. Washington, meanwhile, is now dealing with a big loss – center fielder Adam Eaton is out for the season with a knee injury.
Michael Conforto hit two home runs and slumping Jose Reyes also connected, leading the Mets over the Nationals 5-3 Saturday.
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“It feels great because they’ve got a great club and they’re red hot,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
“When you face arguably two of the best pitchers in the game two days in a row and come out with two wins, that’s huge for us,” he said.
After being swept at home by the Nationals last weekend the Mets have a chance to flip the script on Sunday and even the season series at three games apiece. Even though it’s still April, the importance of this series wasn’t lost on the Mets skipper.
“We know we’ve got a long track, we’ve got to try and get back in the hunt, and that’s what we’re trying to do, put some wins on the board and try and get back in this thing,” Collins said.
The Nationals will have to do without Eaton.
Less than a month into his first season with Washington, Eaton is sidelined for the year with a torn ligament in his left knee. Acquired from the White Sox in December, he was hitting .297 with 13 RBIs when he stepped awkwardly on first base while beating a throw Friday.
The person confirmed Eaton’s status to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, because the Nationals had not made public the severity of the injury. Fox Sports first reported Eaton’s season is done.
Hours before Eaton’s situation was known, the Nationals were steaming over a no-call involving a steal by Jayson Werth in the fourth inning.
Werth swiped second as Jose Lobaton struck out, and got up and tangled with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera when the throw skipped away. Werth kept heading to third and was thrown out by a wide margin.
Werth argued along with Washington manager Dusty Baker that he should’ve been awarded the base because of the block.
“I saw him point obstruction, and then he gave some jive explanation that really didn’t make sense to me,” Baker said of second base umpire Angel Hernandez.
Werth saw the same thing that his manager. When asked after the game about how an umpire can point and not get the bag, Werth responded: “You’re asking the wrong person at this point. I clearly don’t know the rule.”
A request to talk to the umpires was submitted too late to get comment.
Conforto’s two-run homer in the fifth gave the Mets a 3-1 lead and his sixth home run of the season made it 4-2 in the eighth. It was Conforto’s second multihomer game in the majors – as a rookie, he did it in Game 4 of the 2015 World Series against Kansas City.
“It’s huge,” Conforto said about winning the first games of series against Washington’s two star pitchers.
“But you know, we had a feeling that this was coming. We have a lot of faith in ourselves. Things were going bad for a bit, but there’s no panic in here,” he said.
Hansel Robles (4-0) came in to start the sixth and retired five of the six batters he faced, striking out four. Jerry Blevins then took over and fanned Bryce Harper.
Jeurys Familia, pulled Friday night in the ninth while Washington tried to rally, retired three straight hitters to earn his first save of the season.
Familia, who led the majors with a team-record 51 saves last year, began this season serving a 15-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.
Strasburg (2-1) gave up three runs in seven innings. He has gone exactly seven innings in all five of his starts this season.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run in the eighth to cut the deficit to 4-3. Zimmerman, who also had two singles, drove in all three Nationals runs and now has 11 homers this season to go along with 27 RBIs.
Zimmerman’s shot broke a tie with Andre Dawson to move into second place on the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise list with 226.
Reyes hit a solo shot in the ninth, his second of the season.
Michael A. Taylor had three hits in his first game since replacing Eaton. Taylor doubled in the first and added singles in the third and fifth.
Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and allowing one earned run while striking out four.
Harper followed up his first three-strikeout game of the season on Friday but going 0 for 4 with three more strikeouts on Saturday. For the series, the All-Star right fielder is 1 for 9 with six strikeouts. Coming into the series Harper had just 14 strikeouts in 22 games. He hit into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded Friday.
“Well, nobody can stay hot all the time,” Baker said. “Bryce is fine. It’s just a couple days.”
Mets: 1B Lucas Duda (hyperextended left elbow) continued his rehab assignment on Friday for Single-A St. Lucie. He went 1 for 3 and is on pace to return on April 30.
“The way it sounds he’ll be back when he’s eligible to come off,” Collins said.
Nationals: The Nats recalled OF Rafael Bautista from Triple-A Syracuse to take Eaton’s roster spot.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-1, 1.73) makes his first start since April 20 after throwing a bullpen session Friday. He was a late scratch in his last scheduling outing on Thursday against Atlanta due to biceps tendinitis. Syndergaard is 2-3 with a 2.77 ERA lifetime against Washington.
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (1-0, 6.17), is 1-1 in three career starts with a 3.86 ERA against the Mets. Ross saw action against the Mets on Friday as a pinch runner in the ninth replacing C Matt Wieters.
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