Taylor, Espinosa lead Nationals’ comeback over Mets
WASHINGTON (AP) The banged-up Washington Nationals have been relying on their bench players to help keep them atop the NL East.
Danny Espinosa and Michael Taylor were the latest fill-ins to come through.
Taylor had a tying two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning, Espinosa followed with an RBI double and the Nationals rallied from three runs down to beat the New York Mets 4-3 on Wednesday.
”We trust everybody that’s on this team,” Espinosa said. ”There wasn’t any panic there. (We) root for the next guy and keep on grinding.”
Already minus four everyday players and right-hander Stephen Strasburg, Washington lost third baseman Yunel Escobar to an apparent left hand or wrist injury during his at-bat in the second inning. X-rays were negative, but Escobar will have further tests.
Espinosa, who has been subbing for injured second baseman Anthony Rendon, moved to third base and Dan Uggla took over at second.
Taylor has been filling in for injured center fielder Denard Span. Taylor was 1 for 21 on the homestand until he singled home Ian Desmond in the fourth to pull Washington to 3-1.
The Mets had scored three times in the top of the inning on Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ two-run double and Kevin Plawecki’s run-scoring hit off Jordan Zimmermann.
”We lose two to these guys, it’s a whole different clubhouse right now,” Zimmermann said. ”They got their big three (Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard) going against us. For us to win two out of three was definitely big.”
So was Taylor, who had just 39 big league at-bats before this season.
After a wild pitch from Bobby Parnell (1-1) put runners on second and third in the eighth, Taylor ripped a full-count fastball to left to tie it.
”I’m looking for a (fastball) and trying to be as patient as possible,” Taylor said. ”
Taylor then stole second base before Espinosa’s game-winning hit off another fastball.
”It’s just poor timing for a bad day on my part,” Parnell said.
Mets manager Terry Collins blamed himself for the defeat.
”That’s on me,” Collins said. ”I could’ve let (closer) Jeurys (Familia) get looser. You can always send the catcher out and do some other things. (Bobby’s) just been pitching so good, I had all the confidence in the world he’d get out of it.”
Drew Storen struck out the side in the ninth for his 29th save. Matt Thornton (1-0) pitched the eighth for the win.
Zimmermann allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings. He struck out six without a walk.
Washington stranded 10 runners from the second through the seventh innings.
Syndergaard gave up five hits and a run in five innings. He walked five and struck out four.
Mets: LF Michael Cuddyer (left knee) didn’t start for a third straight day. ”The only way it’s really going to get better is with long-term rest,” manager Terry Collins said. Cuddyer pinch hit in the ninth Tuesday. He walked and scored.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg, out since straining his left oblique on July 4, is set to throw batting practice Friday. … OF Jayson Werth, sidelined since May 15 with a broken left wrist, played nine innings in a rehab game Tuesday. Rendon, out since June 24 with a strained quadriceps, had five rehab at-bats Tuesday. . An MRI of David Carpenter’s injured right shoulder was negative, but the reliever had an anti-inflammatory injection that will keep him from throwing for two or three days. He went on the disabled list on July 17.
Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon (9-8, 4.86 ERA) opens a four-game series Thursday against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. Colon is 0-3 with a 4.68 ERA in three starts in July.
Nationals: LHP Doug Fister (3-5, 4.30) starts the opener of a four-game series at Pittsburgh Thursday. Fister is 1-4 with a 4.29 ERA since returning from a forearm injury on June 18.