This could turn into an ugly weekend for the Mets.
Beset by more injuries with the first-place Nationals in town, the Mets dropped their second straight Friday night against their rivals, 7-2, losing the first two games of a four-game series. The Mets (30-36) are now 10.5 games behind Washington (41-26) and could be 12.5 games out by the end of the weekend.
Max Scherzer dominated the Mets, allowing one run in eight innings on four hits, two walks, two hit batters and 10 strikeouts. Steven Matz, meanwhile, gave up four runs in seven innings, serving up three home runs. He allowed eight hits while striking out four on 100 pitches. Matz’s second start since returning from rehab for his troublesome elbow didn’t go nearly as well as his first, when he gave up one run in seven innings.
Matt Wieters and Michael A. Taylor hit back-to-back home runs to begin the third inning. Matz then gave up a two-run homer to Anthony Rendon in the sixth inning, putting the Nats up by four and essentially delivering a fatal blow considering how much the Mets were struggling to get hits off Scherzer until Jose Reyes’ solo homer in the eighth. Matz, who had a pinch-hit single with the bases loaded on Wednesday, had one of the Mets’ four hits against Scherzer.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The Mets might’ve had a chance to tag Scherzer for a run out of the gate if not for a terrific play in the left field by Ryan Raburn on a Jay Bruce opposite-field fly ball. Raburn sprinted to chase down the ball and made a sliding catch into the warning-track dirt in the corner for the impressive out. Yoenis Cespedes was on first with Bruce up after being hit by a pitch.
Wieters and Taylor’s back-to-back jacks in the third put the Nationals up 2-0 and gave Scherzer all the run support he would need in this one.
STAR OF THE GAME
Scherzer. He has mostly had his way with the Mets since joining the Nats in 2015. Now in 10 starts against the Mets he has a 2.12 ERA in 72 1/3 innings with 96 strikeouts. With 10 strikeouts Friday, Scherzer has double-digit strikeouts in five straight starts, eighth starts this season and 57 for his career.
STAT OF THE GAME
27. Former Met and current Met-killer Daniel Murphy has reached base in all 27 games he’s played against his former club since signing with the Nationals. He extended that streak Friday with a double in the sixth inning. Murphy is 42-for-107 (.393) with eight homers, 28 RBI, eight doubles and 20 runs scored and 10 walks against the Mets. Murphy was intentionally walked in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Wilmer Flores, who hit cleanup and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout while grounding into an inning-ending double play in the sixth with runners on first and second.
Reyes’ solo homer to begin the eighth inning gave the Mets their only run and at the time made it 4-1. Reyes finished 2-for-3 batting out of the eight spot. Terry Collins considered batting the switch-hitting Reyes second but went with Cespedes in the No. 2 spot because Reyes has been struggling.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
Collins on Scherzer: “He’s one of the best in the game. You cannot let him get the lead. As we saw last night, those great pitchers, they get the lead and they can chew you up.”
Mets vs. Nationals
Saturday, June 17, 4:10 p.m. TV: Ch. 11.
Seth Lugo (1-0, 1.29) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-2, 3.27)
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