NEW YORK (AP) – Asdrubal Cabrera hit a tiebreaking two-run double against his former team and the Nationals bullpen finally locked down a lead in Flushing, lifting Washington over the streaking New York Mets 7-4 Sunday.
Nationals star Juan Soto was injured on Cabrera’s bases-loaded hit in the seventh inning. Soto went from first to third but turned his right ankle after getting a late stop sign from third base coach Bob Henley. He spiked his helmet, was worked on by trainers in the outfield grass and ultimately came out of the game.
Victor Robles replaced Soto and homered off All-Star Edwin DÃaz in the ninth, and Anthony Rendon had four hits.
Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth for Washington two nights after blowing a three-run lead in the final inning. The Nats bullpen had blown five consecutive save chances at Citi Field prior to Sunday, and its ERA of 6.07 ranked last in the NL. Doolittle got his 26th save.
The Mets ended an eight-game winning streak and lost for the second time in 17 games. Jeff McNeil had two hits and two RBIs. New York dropped 1 1/2 games behind Washington for the top NL wild card.
Adam Eaton began the seventh-inning rally with a one-out single off Robert Gsellman (2-3). The pesky right fielder moved to second on Rendon’s single and advanced to third when McNeil briefly overran the ball.
After a pitching change, Soto walked to load the bases and Cabrera lined Justin Wilson’s first offering into right field to drive in Eaton and Rendon. Soto was tagged out to end the inning.
Cabrera spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Mets before being traded to Philadelphia in 2018.
The Mets threated against the beleaguered Washington bullpen in the seventh. McNeil doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on Amed Rosario’s single. Michael Conforto delivered a sacrifice fly to draw the Mets within one, but Daniel Hudson, Wander Suero and Dootlittle combined for 2 1/3 hitless innings to preserve the win. Matt Grace (1-2) pitched one-third of an inning to earn the win.
New York ace Jacob deGrom allowed three unearned runs with seven strikeouts over five innings. He failed to reach the sixth inning for the first time in five starts but lowered his ERA in day games to 1.84, which is the best mark in baseball since at least 1913.
The Nationals went ahead 3-0 in the first inning on a bizarre bases-loaded error. Cabrera hit a two-out grounder that first baseman Pete Alonso dived to stop, and Alonso threw toward first base. The feed would have hit deGrom in stride, except the pitcher paused momentarily a few feet from the base and then let the ball bounce off his glove. It rolled to near the Mets’ on-deck circle, where deGrom chased it down and threw to home plate. Catcher Wilson Ramos dropped the throw, allowing Soto to come in with the third unearned run of the play. Alonso was charged with an error.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (back) “felt really good” following Saturday’s bullpen session, according to manager Dave Martinez. He is lined up for a simulated game on Tuesday. … 2B Brian Dozier (rest) was held out of the lineup for the second straight game, although Martinez also noted that Dozier’s wife is expecting the couple’s first child “any time soon.” He flew out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth.
Mets: There is still no timeframe for a rehab assignment for ailing OF Brandon Nimmo (neck) and IF Jed Lowrie (knee), although manager Mickey Callaway noted that the pair is “progressing.”
Nationals: Washington returns home to open a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. RP Erick Fedde (2-2, 4.20 ERA) pitches for the Nationals. He’s opposed by RHP Anthony DeSclafani (7-6, 4.20 ERA).
Mets: After a day off, RHP Zack Wheeler (9-6, 4.20 ERA) pitches for New York as the Mets open an important three-game series with the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves. Wheeler has won his last three starts, allowing just three earned runs over 20 1/3 innings (1.33 ERA), but the Georgia native has struggled at Sun Trust Park, allowing 12 earned runs over 17 2/3 innings (6.11 ERA). Atlanta has not named a starter.
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