WASHINGTON (AP) — The fireworks started once the bullpens showed up in Washington.
Ryan Raburn drove in the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Nationals survived another late-inning collapse for a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets on Monday night.
Curtis Granderson, out of the starting lineup with a right hip muscle strain, tied the game with a two-out, two-run homer off Nationals reliever Matt Albers (4-1). Granderson’s heroics came after Michael Taylor’s two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth broke the scoreless tie.
Matt Wieters opened the ninth with a walk against Paul Sewald (0-3), moved to second following a sacrifice bunt and took third on Adam Lind’s deep fly ball.
Following Stephen Drew’s walk, Raburn’s slow, looping liner to left field off Fernando Salas fell in front of a diving Yoenis Cespedes, scoring Wieters.
“I was watching the umpire and I (saw) him say safe,” Raburn said. “I was hoping it would stay that way and then I saw them talking and I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ But it fell in.”
Granderson also wasn’t confident his hit would fall.
“I was just hopeful that it would get out because I wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to do after that in terms of trying to go extra bases or anything like that,” he said. “The fact that it just went just enough was a good thing.”
Washington’s Stephen Strasburg and Mets starter Steven Matz each tossed seven scoreless innings in their respective no-decisions. Then chaos ensued.
Nationals left fielder Brian Goodwin kept the game scoreless in the top of the eighth by throwing out Brandon Nimmo trying to score from second on Jose Reyes’ base hit.
No defense could stop Granderson’s ball from reaching the stands.
“The biggest downer in baseball is a blown save late,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “You don’t want to beleaguer the fact, but the opposition knows as well.”
The Nationals’ bullpen entered Monday with a major league-worst 5.12 ERA. Sammy Solis allowed T.J. Rivera’s single in the ninth before Albers entered with two outs.
“So that just goes to show you that our guys keep fighting and keep playing,” Baker continued. “We know that we’re going to get our bullpen fixed. “
Washington has won back-to-back games after dropping three in a row.
New York lost its second consecutive game after winning four straight and seven of eight.
Strasburg, one of five Nationals chosen to the 2017 NL All-Star team, allowed two hits with six strikeouts and three walks in his third start against New York this season.
The right-hander did not allow a hit after Reyes’ single in the third and retired the final 10 batters. That stretch started by striking out Travis d’Arnaud looking on the ninth pitch of the at-bat with the bases loaded in the fourth after Strasburg walked three batters.
“I just wasn’t throwing strikes,” Strasburg said of his ball-control lapse. “You can’t really let that snowball. … Luckily, I was able to make a pitch when it mattered.”
“When you get good pitchers on ropes you better do some damage,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He got out of a bases-loaded situation and that was tough.”
The Nationals are 8-3 against the Mets this season.
Matz allowed four hits and four strikeouts. He extended his scoreless innings streak to 17. Matz has worked at least six innings in 10 straight starts.
Mets: Granderson didn’t start for the second game, but is slated for a return the lineup Tuesday, Collins said. . Cespedes developed right leg cramps on the attempted sliding catch. The manager doesn’t expect him to start due to the early start time.
MAGNIFYING GLASS REQUIRED
RHP Max Scherzer, one of Washington’s five 2017 All-Star’s, was named National League Pitcher of the Month, Major League Baseball announced Monday. Scherzer went 3-2 with a microscopic 0.99 ERA in five starts. He had 51 strikeouts and six walks in 36 1-3 innings.
Mets: RHP Seth Lugo (3-1, 3.55 ERA) earned his third win in four starts by allowing three runs in six innings at Miami on June 29.
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (4-3, 5.12) is 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA over his last three starts
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