WASHINGTON (AP)The New York Mets were eliminated from playoff contention in a mistake-filled loss to the Nationals in the opener of a doubleheader on Saturday, and not much changed in the nightcap as an error extended a big inning for Washington, which won 5-3 to sweep the twinbill.
Entering Saturday, the Mets (26-33) needed to win their three remaining games and receive help from multiple teams to sneak into the final wild-card spot in the expanded playoffs. Instead, New York is in danger of finishing tied with Washington (25-34) in the NL East cellar.
”I wish we had 100 more” games, Mets star Pete Alonso said. ”I feel like this team is built to win. We have a ridiculous amount of talent. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t put it together in a 60-game timespan. We had a lot of talent and we just didn’t do it.”
Trea Turner started off the Nationals’ decisive third inning of the second game with a homer to left field off Rick Porcello (1-7). Yadiel Hernandez and Kurt Suzuki drove in runs for Washington before first baseman Alonso’s fielding error with two out opened the door for two unearned runs.
Alonso hit a two-run homer, his team-leading 14th, off Anibal Sanchez (4-5) into the visitor’s bullpen in the fourth.
Todd Frazier had a run-scoring single in the sixth for New York, but reliever Wander Suero struck out two batters with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Daniel Hudson worked the seventh for his 10th save.
In the first game, New York couldn’t hold a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning and lost 4-3, ensuring it would miss the postseason for the fourth straight year.
”It’s the toughest loss of the year because it takes us out of what we were trying to achieve,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.
Andrew Stevenson hit two homers – including one inside the park – for the Nationals, and Max Scherzer (5-4) worked six solid innings to finish with a winning record for the 11th consecutive season, tying Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw for the longest active streak in the majors.
”Just stinks that the year’s over,” Scherzer said. ”My body feels like it’s September, but my arm feels like it’s May.”
Wilson Ramos hit a two-run homer to center to give the Mets a 2-0 lead in the third and Amed Rosario added a solo shot in the fourth, also off Scherzer, to make it 3-1.
Andrew Stevenson hit a conventional homer off Jacob deGrom in the third. Washington added a run in the fourth on deGrom’s wild pitch.
”There’s eight teams going and we didn’t make it,” said deGrom, who finished 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA following his back-to-back Cy Young Award seasons. ”I think the level of disappointment is pretty high.”
In the fifth, Mets left fielder Dominic Smith slipped and then collided with the left-field wall trying to catch Stevenson’s flyball. Smith stayed down as Stevenson rounded the bases for an inside the park homer. Trainers and teammates came out to attend to Smith, who stayed in the game but did not play in the nightcap.
Miguel Castro (2-2) walked Brock Holt to lead off the sixth and Yan Gomes singled, advancing Holt to third. Castro struck out Luis Garcia before Rojas brought in Edwin Diaz with one out to face Josh Harrison, whose sacrifice fly to right gave Washington its first lead.
Will Harris worked the seventh for his first save.
Before the game, the Nationals announced manager Dave Martinez agreed to a multiyear contract extension, although general manager Mike Rizzo wouldn’t say how many years it adds to the skipper’s deal. ”We don’t talk about terms as far as years, length and salaries and that type of thing. We’re comfortable with what we have and the consistency that we’re going to have down the road,” said Rizzo, who recently agreed to a three-year extension of his own.
Martinez was hired in 2017 and given a three-year deal with an option for 2021 that had not been picked up before he signed his extension.
With nothing to play for besides pride, the Nationals instead looked like the team trying to sneak into the playoffs.
”I know the boys were psyched,” Martinez said. ”We faced deGrom, we faced Porcello – both former Cy Young winners – and we came to play today. It was fun to watch them, they had a lot of energy.”
Mets: Placed SS Andres Gimenez (right oblique tightness) on the 10-day injured list after he was injured in the first game. New York selected the contract of OF Ryan Cordell.
New York RHP Seth Lugo (3-3, 3.82 ERA) will face Washington RHP Austin Voth (1-5, 6.25) on Sunday in the season finale for both teams.
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