WASHINGTON (AP) — The New York Mets wobbled into Nationals Park this weekend with a six-game losing streak, beset by injuries and lined up to face Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and the team with the best record in the majors.
Two days later, things don’t look quite so bleak for the Mets. Washington, meanwhile, is now dealing with a big loss — center fielder Adam Eaton is out for the season with a knee injury.
Michael Conforto hit two home runs and slumping Jose Reyes also connected, leading the Mets over the Nationals 5-3 Saturday.
“It feels great because they’ve got a great club and they’re red hot,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
“When you face arguably two of the best pitchers in the game two days in a row and come out with two wins, that’s huge for us,” he said.
After being swept at home by the Nationals last weekend the Mets have a chance to flip the script today and even the season series at three games apiece. Even though it’s still April, the importance of this series wasn’t lost on the Mets skipper.
“We know we’ve got a long track, we’ve got to try and get back in the hunt, and that’s what we’re trying to do, put some wins on the board and try and get back in this thing,” Collins said.
The Nationals will have to do without Eaton.
Less than a month into his first season with Washington, Eaton is sidelined for the year with a torn ligament in his left knee. Acquired from the White Sox in December, he was hitting .297 with 13 RBIs when he stepped awkwardly on first base while beating a throw Friday.
The person confirmed Eaton’s status to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, because the Nationals had not made public the severity of the injury. Fox Sports first reported Eaton’s season is done.
Hours before Eaton’s situation was known, the Nationals were steaming over a no-call involving a steal by Jayson Werth in the fourth inning.
Werth swiped second as Jose Lobaton struck out, and got up and tangled with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera when the throw skipped away. Werth kept heading to third and was thrown out by a wide margin.
Werth argued along with Washington manager Dusty Baker that he should’ve been awarded the base because of the block.
“I saw him point obstruction, and then he gave some jive explanation that really didn’t make sense to me,” Baker said of second base umpire Angel Hernandez.
Werth saw the same thing that his manager. When asked after the game about how an umpire can point and not get the bag, Werth responded: “You’re asking the wrong person at this point. I clearly don’t know the rule.”
A request to talk to the umpires was submitted too late to get comment.
Conforto’s two-run homer in the fifth gave the Mets a 3-1 lead and his sixth home run of the season made it 4-2 in the eighth. It was Conforto’s second multihomer game in the majors — as a rookie, he did it in Game 4 of the 2015 World Series against Kansas City.
“It’s huge,” Conforto said about winning the first games of series against Washington’s two star pitchers.
“But you know, we had a feeling that this was coming. We have a lot of faith in ourselves. Things were going bad for a bit, but there’s no panic in here,” he said.
Hansel Robles (4-0) came in to start the sixth and retired five of the six batters he faced, striking out four. Jerry Blevins then took over and fanned Bryce Harper.
Jeurys Familia, pulled Friday night in the ninth while Washington tried to rally, retired three straight hitters to earn his first save of the season.
Familia, who led the majors with a team-record 51 saves last year, began this season serving a 15-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.
Strasburg (2-1) gave up three runs in seven innings. He has gone exactly seven innings in all five of his starts this season.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run in the eighth to cut the deficit to 4-3. Zimmerman, who also had two singles, drove in all three Nationals runs and now has 11 homers this season to go along with 27 RBIs.
Zimmerman’s shot broke a tie with Andre Dawson to move into second place on the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise list with 226.
Reyes hit a solo shot in the ninth, his second of the season.
Michael A. Taylor had three hits in his first game since replacing Eaton.
Taylor doubled in the first and added singles in the third and fifth.
Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and allowing one earned run while striking out four.
Braves 11, Brewers 3
MILWAUKEE — Matt Kemp homered three times and drove in five runs, helping the surging Atlanta Braves pound the Milwaukee Brewers.
Atlanta collected a season-high 20 hits in its fourth straight victory. Dansby Swanson also homered, and Jaime Garcia (1-1) pitched six innings for his first win with the Braves after spending the first eight years of his career in St. Louis.
Kemp connected in the fifth, seventh and eighth for his first game with three homers. He became the first Braves player to accomplish the feat since Mark Teixeira in 2008.
Pirates 4, Marlins 0
MIAMI — Ivan Nova pitched a three-hitter and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Miami Marlins.
John Jaso homered and drove in two runs, Jordy Mercer knocked in a run, and Gregory Polanco had two doubles for the Pirates, who have won three straight.
Nova (3-2) struck out seven and did not walk a batter in the 95-pitch masterpiece. He retired 11 in a row at one point.
Nova continued his impressive start to the season, which includes walking just one batter over 27 innings as he lowered his ERA to 1.50 while tossing his second complete game and the eighth of his career.
White Sox 6, Tigers 4, 10 innings
DETROIT — Melky Cabrera led off the 10th inning with a homer against Justin Wilson and Avisail Garcia added an RBI triple, lifting the White Sox to their sixth straight win.
Jose Abreu homered twice in his return to the lineup for Chicago.
Detroit has lost four in a row.
The White Sox held onto a two-run lead in the 10th with David Robertson (1-0) making the most of a chance to pitch a second inning after losing a two-run advantage in the ninth.
Wilson (1-1) hadn’t allowed a hit or a run in his first 11 appearances this season until Cabrera hit his first homer of the season.
Rangers 6, Angels 3
ARLINGTON, Texas — Carlos Gomez’s seventh-inning home run gave him his second career cycle and Yu Darvish allowed two runs in six innings while throwing 125 pitches as the Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels.
Rougned Odor hit a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie.
Gomez needed only four at-bats for his first cycle since May 7, 2008, with the Minnesota Twins. He doubled in the first inning, singled in the third and tripled in the fifth off starter Jesse Chavez (2-4). He hit a first-pitch fastball from Jose Valdez onto the hill behind center field in the seventh for a two-run homer.
Darvish (3-2) allowed one earned run, three hits and four walks while striking out 10. He fell five pitches short of his major league high, thrown as a rookie in 2013.
Athletics 2, Astros 1
HOUSTON — Khris Davis clubbed his 10th home run to back a solid start by Andrew Triggs and the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros to snap a five-game skid.
Oakland ended a 10-game losing streak against the Astros, which was the longest in franchise history against Houston.
Indians 4, Mariners 3
CLEVELAND — Danny Salazar got off to a rocky start, and then combined with two Cleveland relievers to hold Seattle hitless over the final eight innings.
Salazar (2-2) gave up a double to Robinson Cano in the first, followed by homers on successive pitches to Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.
Salazar struck out six in 6 1/3 innings. Andrew Miller struck out four in 1 2/3 innings and Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall each had two RBIs in Cleveland’s four-run first off Yovani Gallardo (1-3).
Cleveland has won eight of 11. Seattle’s three-game winning streak ended.
Blue Jays 4, Rays 1
TORONTO — Justin Smoak had three hits, including a two-run homer, and the Blue Jays snapped a three-game losing streak.
Smoak went 3 for 3 and scored twice.
Toronto’s Francisco Liriano (2-2) allowed one run and four hits in five-plus innings. Roberto Osuna got three outs finished for his second save.
Tampa Bay right-hander Matt Andriese (1-1) gave up four runs in seven innings.
Rays outfielder Steven Souza left in the seventh after being hit on the back of the left hand by a pitch. X-rays were negative and Souza is day to day.
Cubs 7, Red Sox 4
BOSTON — Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer, helping Chicago rebound from a series-opening loss at Boston.
Miguel Montero and Ben Zobrist each connected for a solo shot for the Cubs, who had dropped two in a row. Kris Bryant had two hits and scored twice.
Cubs right-hander John Lackey (2-3) gave up four runs in six innings, snapping his string of losses in three straight starts. He was part of Boston’s 2013 World Series title team.