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Cespedes adds 3rd HR to early-season surge

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

WASHINGTON -- The scouting report on Yoenis Cespedes is not particularly complicated. Throw the ball up. Bury breaking balls in the dirt. Anything near the lower third of the strike zone, he can crush.

So it was not particularly surprising that Stephen Strasburg bemoaned one pitch in particular in the Mets' 8-2 win over the Nationals on Thursday: a low fastball just below the zone that Cespedes crushed for a game-tying homer in the fourth.

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WASHINGTON -- The scouting report on Yoenis Cespedes is not particularly complicated. Throw the ball up. Bury breaking balls in the dirt. Anything near the lower third of the strike zone, he can crush.

So it was not particularly surprising that Stephen Strasburg bemoaned one pitch in particular in the Mets' 8-2 win over the Nationals on Thursday: a low fastball just below the zone that Cespedes crushed for a game-tying homer in the fourth.

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"I definitely want two pitches back," Strasburg said. "Cespedes is a low-ball hitter and I didn't throw it where I wanted to throw it. It was a ball, but good piece of hitting. It is what it is. And obviously Michael Conforto, I missed my spot there again too."

"He loves the low pitch," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.

Cespedes' homer came rocketing off his bat at 112.1 mph, making it the second-hardest one he has hit since Statcast™ began tracking data in 2015. It was also the hardest homer Strasburg has allowed in that time period, and the fourth-hardest hit of any kind. Cespedes has now homered in back-to-back games, and in three of the Mets' first six contests.

All those long balls have come on pitches either in the lower half of the strike zone or, in Thursday's case, a good bit below it. That's nothing new for Cespedes, who entered the game slugging a Major League-best .787 against pitches in the lower third of the zone.

"You've got to be careful when you're going down there, and you have to bounce a breaking ball to get him out," Callaway said. "So you're kind of walking a thin line. If you don't quite get it there, he puts a good swing on it and you're in trouble."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes