NEW YORK (AP) — In exactly two weeks, the Washington Nationals will trot out a decidedly different look for their playoff opener.
For now, manager Dusty Baker wants to see who else can contribute for the NL East champions.
Starting a watered-down lineup that didn’t include a single regular, the Nationals lost to the Mets 7-6 Friday night. Travis d’Arnaud homered twice as New York ended a three-game skid.
“We’re going to have to see what these guys can do,” Baker said.
The Nationals begin the Division Series on Oct. 6. If the current standings hold, they would host the World Series champion Chicago Cubs to open the best-of-five matchup.
Before the game, Baker said he needed to “give my big boys much needed rest.” Star Daniel Murphy pinch hit in the eighth and flied out.
Prized prospect Victor Robles lined a two-run triple in the fifth inning that put Washington ahead 6-1. The 20-year-old got up in the ninth with two outs and runners at the corners, and struck out against Jeurys Familia.
“I didn’t hit for him,” Baker said. “OK, you can’t rescue them all the time. Let’s see what you can do.”
“You have the luxury of that,” he said.
Adam Lind hit a three-run homer for Washington. It was the Nationals’ 203rd home run this season, matching the franchise record dating to 1969 when they were the Montreal Expos.
Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley exited in the eighth inning when he threw a pitch and lost the feeling in his finger. He’s struggled this season and missed more than two months because of back problems, and will see a doctor.
“You hate to see that,” Baker said.
Nori Aoki had three hits for the Mets, including a go-ahead double in the sixth inning off Joe Blanton (2-4).
Chasen Bradford (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
“Tonight’s a perfect example that we haven’t cashed it in,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We’re down 6-1 and come back and win the game.”
“These guys are still playing for something. They’re playing for jobs for next year and I think that’s meaningful and play the way you’re supposed to play, no matter what your record says or how you’re doing at the moment,” he said.
Familia, the Mets’ third pitcher in the ninth inning, earned his fourth save , and first since May 5. Familia, who missed three months after surgery to repair a blood clot, entered as part of a double switch, with Kevin Plawecki taking over at catcher for d’Arnaud.
D’Arnaud hit a solo homer in the second and connected for a tying, three-run drive in the fifth that finished starter Edwin Jackson. That gave d’Arnaud a career-best 15 homers and marked his second multihomer game, the other coming in April against Washington.
Mets starter Robert Gsellman allowed six runs in five innings. He moved up a day to pitch in place of ace Jacob deGrom, who was moved back in the rotation until Sunday because of a stomach illness this week.
The Mets are one home run short of matching the team-record 218 they hit last season.
Nationals: RF Bryce Harper (knee) ran the bases during batting practice. The 2015 NL MVP is to hit in a simulated game Saturday.
Mets: Rookie SS Amed Rosario started after missing three games because of a stomach ailment. He went 1 for 4.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (14-4, 2.60 ERA) can match his career high in wins with a victory Saturday. He has won four straight starts, and has allowed one earned run in 35 innings over his last five outings.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard will start and pitch one inning Saturday in his first major league action since partially tearing a lat muscle on his right side April 30. Matt Harvey will take over to begin the second inning.
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