By MIKE FITZPATRICK  AP Baseball Writer

 

NEW YORK (AP) _ Trea Turner hit a leadoff homer and the Washington Nationals backed Stephen Strasburg with three long balls Saturday, beating the New York Mets 7-4 to stay undefeated at Citi Field this season.

Adam Lind added a two-run shot and Jose Lobaton also went deep for the NL East leaders, who can finish a four-game sweep Sunday afternoon. Washington is 6-0 in Queens this year _ part of an impressive 24-12 mark on the road _ and has won 12 of 16 at the Mets’ home ballpark since the start of last season.

Yoenis Cespedes homered and had four hits for third-place New York, which dropped 11 1/2 games out of first. The banged-up Mets (30-37) expected to challenge rival Washington at the top of the division, but injuries and poor pitching have taken their toll in a race that no longer looks competitive.

Strasburg (8-2) permitted two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, rebounding from his worst start of the season. He struck out five and walked two.

Four relievers from a much-maligned bullpen finished up, with Enny Romero getting five outs for his second save. The left-hander gave a huge fist pump after Cespedes grounded into a game-ending double play.

Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon each had an RBI double for the Nationals, who have won seven of nine meetings with the Mets this season. Washington hit three homers for the second straight matchup and turned four double plays _ one night after spinning three behind ace Max Scherzer.

The Nationals scored once in each of the first four innings against Seth Lugo (1-1), including on a two-out throwing error by third baseman Wilmer Flores. Turner’s fifth career leadoff homer and third this season, on Lugo’s second pitch, was the third the Mets have allowed in their past five games.

After trailing by four twice, New York cut it to 6-4 in the eighth on an RBI single by Jose Reyes. With two on, Romero struck out Rene Rivera to end the inning _ Rivera fanned all four times up.

Rendon’s run-scoring double in the ninth made it 7-4.

Lugo gave up four runs, three earned, over 6 2/3 innings in his second start of the season after recovering from elbow inflammation. He was diagnosed with a partially torn ligament late in spring training.

The Mets had won Lugo’s previous eight starts dating to last year.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Shawn Kelley was receiving treatment for tightness in his neck before the game. Unless it loosened up, manager Dusty Baker did not expect Kelley to be available out of the bullpen. Kelley worked the ninth inning Friday night and threw 26 pitches in closing out a 7-2 victory.

Mets: Cespedes, who returned from a strained hamstring June 10, started his third straight game ahead of a scheduled day off Sunday. The slugger has also dealt with quadriceps and heel issues recently, and his legs were tested several times Saturday following hours of heavy rain in the early afternoon before the game. But he ran well all day, legging out two infield singles, twice going first to third and even galloping a long way for a running catch in deep left field. He hustled into second base on one of Jay Bruce’s three singles and later scored one of his three runs with a feet-first slide on Flores’ line-drive sacrifice fly, barely beating a strong throw from right fielder Bryce Harper.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (3-2, 6.39 ERA) pitches the series finale Sunday. Washington has scored 85 runs in Ross’ eight starts this season.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (5-3, 4.33 ERA) threw 116 pitches Monday in his second career complete game, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-1 with a five-hitter. He is 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA in nine starts vs. the Nationals and has 22 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings against them this year.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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