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Nats crush four homers to top split-squad Mets

Washington wins Gio's debut thanks to a quartet of long balls

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to top the Mets, 11-5, at Space Coast Stadium on Wednesday afternoon and snap a two-game losing streak.

With the score tied at 4, Washington teed off on right-hander Cory Mazzoni. The rally started with Tyler Moore, who singled to right field, scoring Scott Hairston. Will Rhymes then singled to right field, scoring Cutter Dykstra. Sandy Leon followed with a three-run homer to give Washington a four-run lead. Matt Skole added to the lead later in the inning with a two-run homer.

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Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez started his first game of the spring and pitched two shutout innings. Mets right-hander Jenrry Mejia was on the mound in the second inning when the Nationals scored an unearned run. Wilson Ramos reached second on an error by Mejia and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Fontenot. Mejia would pitch two innings, strike out three and allow an unearned run.

Shortstop Ian Desmond would give Washington a one-run lead by hitting a home run over the wall in right-center off left-hander Adam Kolarek.

But the lead evaporated with Nationals left-hander Matt Purke on the mound. With runners on first and second, Zach Lutz singled to left field, scoring Wilmer Flores. Two batters later, Anthony Seratelli singled to right field, scoring two runs.

The Mets added a run in the top of the sixth off reliever Craig Stammen, with Eric Campbell scoring on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Teagarden.

But the Nationals would tie the score in the seventh, when Brian Goodwin swung at a pitch from right-hander John Church and sent it over the right-field wall.

Up next: The Nationals play a night game against the Braves at Champion Stadium on Thursday at at 6:05 ET, with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann getting the start. The two teams have played each other twice this spring and have split the series. In their most recent matchup, on Tuesday, the Braves won, 8-4.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Washington Nationals