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BC-BBN--Nationals-Mets,1st Ld-Writethru

April 6, 2019
AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Little over a week into his New York Mets career, Pete Alonso already has learned a lot about his team’s history. And the 24-year-old rookie gladly recited a key lesson after taking part in a nifty rally.

“Like the Mets saying is: Ya gotta believe!” Alonso said.

Believing helps. So does hitting home runs, especially lots of long, loud ones.

Alonso and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back homers to begin the eighth and Keon Broxton lined an RBI single later in the inning, lifting the Mets over the Washington Nationals 6-5 Saturday.

Unlikely cleanup man J.D. Davis hit two home runs and Michael Conforto connected as the Mets improved to 6-2.

“I think that’s the biggest story, we’re not a team that will quit,” Davis said.

Alonso also doubled and is batting .367. The Mets had hit only four home runs this year, among the fewest in the majors, before launching five.

Anthony Rendon hit a leadoff homer and Wilmer Difo added a two-run shot in the top of the eighth, putting Washington ahead 5-3. Both drives came off reliever Jeurys Familia (2-0) — never before had he given up two home runs in a game.

But the Mets bounced right back, with Alonso and Cano tagging Justin Miller to make it 5-all.

Tony Sipp (0-1) took over with two outs for a lefty vs. lefty matchup and Conforto greeted him with a double. After pinch-hitter Jeff McNeil was plunked by a pitch, Broxton singled to complete the comeback.

A crowd of 35,156 roared when Broxton delivered, the fans matching the enthusiasm of what Davis called “a high-energy team.”

Edwin Diaz worked the ninth for his fourth save.

The Nationals, meanwhile, saw their bullpen knocked around by the Mets in the late innings for the second straight weekend.

“We take full responsibility,” Sipp said. “It’s pretty frustrating.”

A bizarre passed ball gave Washington a gift run in the seventh. With two outs and runners on first and second, pinch-hitter Matt Adams swung over a breaking ball from Familia.

But the pitch bounced under catcher Wilson Ramos, and he scrambled around the plate to find the ball. He couldn’t locate it, and by the time Familia rushed in and retrieved it near the backstop, Victor Robles had streaked home from second to pull the Nationals within 3-2.

Davis delivered the first multihomer game of his brief career, lining solo drives off Patrick Corbin in the fourth inning and the sixth.

Acquired from Houston during the offseason in a minor deal, the 25-year-old Davis began the game with a career .189 batting average and five home runs. He went 3 for 3 with a walk.

Conforto also homered in the sixth. He’s 6 for 14 with four homers lifetime against Corbin, a two-time All-Star who signed a $140 million, six-year deal to leave Arizona and join the Nationals.

Mets starter Steven Matz was pulled after five shutout innings of two-hit ball. He labored to get there, striking out eight, walking four and throwing 103 pitches.

Matz has gone eight straight starts without a win or loss — his no-decision streak is the longest in Mets history.

WELCOME BACK

Howie Kendrick flied out as a pinch-hitter in his first big league game for Washington since May 19, then stayed in to play second base. The 35-year-old INF/OF missed most of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon and strained a hamstring in spring training.

NOT FINDING NIMMO

Mets leadoff man Brandon Nimmo struck out in all three at-bats. He’s 2 for 26 this year, fanning 17 times.

DOZIER DROUGHT

Nats newcomer Brian Dozier went 0 for 3, leaving him 2 for 25 with nine strikeouts this season. He’s hit over 20 home runs for five straight years, but batted a combined .215 for Minnesota and the Dodgers last season. Manager Dave Martinez said pregame that Dozier remains the everyday second baseman for now. Martinez noted Dozier had been fouling off too many pitches he needs to drive. Dozier fouled off three pitches his first time up before fanning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: OF Michael A. Taylor (knee, hip) was set to play seven innings in the field for Double-A Harrisburg. There’s no timetable for his return to the majors.

Mets: McNeil didn’t start, resting his banged-up knee. It’s been ailing him since he knocked into an outfield fence in spring training.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (0-2, 2.13 ERA) has lost both starts this year despite pitching well. He hasn’t lost three straight starts since 2015, his first season in Washington.

Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (0-0, 7.20) got a no-decision vs. Washington last weekend, giving up four earned run in five innings.

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