WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals survived a dramatic ninth inning to secure their first series win in a month.
Gerardo Parra hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the fifth and Sean Doolittle stopped the New York Mets’ late rally by striking out Keon Broxton with the bases loaded for the final out of the Nationals’ 7-6 win Thursday.
“You want the ball in his hand,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said of Doolittle. “He goes out there, it’s his to win or lose. He knows that. He battled through it and got a big out for us.”
Brandon Nimmo walked leading off, pinch-hitter Todd Frazier doubled, and pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos and Juan Lagares hit run-scoring singles with one out. Dominic Smith hit an infield popup and Robinson Cano reached on an infield hit that loaded the bases.
Broxton swung through a 2-2 fastball, dropping his average to .143.
“It worked out as well as it could for those guys to come off the bench and get hits and keep us going like that and give us a chance with two outs bases loaded down one,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
Doolittle got his seventh save in eight chances.
“They weren’t really hitting balls hard, just kind of finding some holes,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said. “He’s going to come right at you, guys know it. One of those days where he gave up some runs, which is unusual, but we found a way to win.”
Michael Conforto hit a tying, three-run homer off Erick Fedde in the third inning but left with a concussion in the fifth after colliding with second baseman Cano’s shoulder while chasing Howie Kendrick’s popup down the right-field line. Rather than fly with the Mets to Miami, Conforto planned to take a train back to New York.
“I called it right away. He called it really late,” Cano said. “It could have been something worse. Hopefully, he’s good tomorrow.”
Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil left in the third because of abdominal tightness.
Washington won two of three against the Mets for its first series win since April 16-18 against San Francisco. The Nationals, just 18-25, lost six straight series before splitting four games with the Los Angeles Dodgers last weekend.
New York dropped to 20-22 and is 0-5 in the finales of three-game series after splitting the first two games.
Mets starter Zack Wheeler (3-3) allowed six runs and a career-high 11 hits in six innings, raising his ERA to 4.85. Washington had five hits and two walks — one intentional — in a four-run first that included RBI doubles by Parra and Suzuki.
Parra was a triple short of the cycle and his home run put Washington ahead 6-4. Suzuki added an RBI single in the seventh off Robert Gsellman that drove in Parra, who had walked against Daniel Zamora and stolen second.
Dan Jennings (1-2) struck out two in a perfect fifth to win in relief of Anibal Sanchez, who left after 1 1/3 innings because of a strained left hamstring and will be placed on the injured list.
Conforto homered off Erick Fedde. Wheeler had not allowed a home run in his previous 32 1/3 innings.
In five games since joining the Nationals on May 9, Parra is batting .294 (5 for 17) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs and four runs.
Mets: LHP Jason Vargas (left hamstring tightness) is to make an injury rehabilitation start on Sunday for Double-A Binghamton. ... LHP Steven Matz (forearm irritation) said he felt good after a 45-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday and is ready to return.
Nationals: SS Trea Turner, out since April 3 with a broken right index finger, worked out at Nationals Park after playing all nine innings of rehab games Tuesday and Wednesday at Class A Potomac. He could be activated as early as Friday
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (3-4, 3.26) starts the opener of a three-game series at Miami. He is 6-6 with a 3.24 ERA in 18 starts versus the Marlins.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (2-4, 3.64) opens a three-game series against the visiting Chicago Cubs. He has struck out 11 in three of his last four starts against the Cubs.
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