Davis, Alonso lead new Mets past Nats 11-8 for 2-0 start
It’s just two games, of course, but 2-0 is better than 0-2 — which is where the Washington Nationals are as they adjust to life without Bryce Harper.
Alonso contributed three hits, two RBIs and a pair of nifty stretch plays at first base in Game 2 of his major league career, and fellow youngsters J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith all played a part in lifting the Mets past the Nationals 11-8 on Saturday.
“We kind of figured that would be the case — that these guys were going to come up and contribute. That’s one of the reasons we wanted them on the team or we went and acquired those guys,” second-year manager Mickey Callaway said. “We saw that talent and knew they would be impactful players. They definitely came through today.”
Davis delivered a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth inning, Smith also drove in a pair of runs and so did McNeil, who had four hits in front of a crowd that featured pockets of New York fans chanting “Let’s go, Mets!” and “Where is Harper?”
Smith is 23, Alonso 24, Davis 25 and McNeil 26.
None debuted earlier than 2017.
“You’ve got (Alonso) trying to knock down outfield walls. J.D.’s making great plays behind me. And Jeff McNeil is hitting the ball all over the yard,” Mets starter Noah Syndergaard said. “It’s fun to watch. I look forward to a lot more of that this season.”
Alonso’s first game in the majors came Thursday on opening day.
“This is the most fun I’ve had playing baseball,” he said. “I feel blessed, and I’m living the dream right now. I’m just having a blast out there.”
Another offseason acquisition by agent-turned-GM Brodie Van Wagenen, closer Edwin Diaz, picked up his second save with one pitch by getting Kurt Suzuki to fly out with a man on in the ninth after Seth Lugo let a seven-run lead shrink to three.
Much earlier, Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg, left with identical lines: six innings, four runs, seven hits. This one came down to the bullpens, and while neither fared that well, Washington’s rebuilt version really flopped.
Justin Wilson (1-0) threw a perfect seventh to earn the win. Otherwise, it was an adventure out there.
Nationals reliever Trevor Rosenthal (0-1) was booed off the mound in his return from Tommy John surgery after entering a 4-all game in the eighth and allowing all four batters he faced to reach base.
Rosenthal led the majors with 93 saves over the 2014-15 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals but last appeared in a regular-season game in August 2017. He was signed by Washington as a free agent based on an offseason workout and still can throw 100 mph, but he gave up three singles and a walk and failed to get an out.
“A good step forward getting back,” Rosenthal said. “But obviously didn’t end up how I wanted it to.”
He gave way to Kyle Barraclough, another new reliever, acquired in a trade with Miami. His Nationals debut was every bit as inauspicious: Before throwing a single pitch, Barraclough let in a run via a balk. After getting a couple of outs, he served up Alonso’s second double of the day.
Rookie Victor Robles hit Washington’s only homer of the season, but he also had some adventures. There were a couple of bad jumps on balls to center field. A throw to the wrong base in New York’s three-run first inning. And he got picked off first for his second baserunning gaffe in two games. “You’ve got to remember he’s 21 years old and he’s playing in the big leagues. I’ve been there. I know the struggle,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He’s going to get better.”
In Sunday’s series finale, LHP Patrick Corbin will make his debut for the Nationals, who signed him to a $140 million, six-year contract. The Mets start RHP Zack Wheeler, who is 4-8 with a 4.37 ERA against Washington over his career.