WASHINGTON -- After dropping the first game Sunday afternoon on the final play, the Nationals salvaged a split of Sunday's day-night doubleheader with the Mets, winning the nightcap 5-4 on the back of a strong start from right-hander Tanner Roark and some timely offense.The Mets won the first game, 6-5."You
WASHINGTON -- After dropping the first game Sunday afternoon on the final play, the Nationals salvaged a split of Sunday's day-night doubleheader with the Mets, winning the nightcap 5-4 on the back of a strong start from right-hander Tanner Roark and some timely offense.
The Mets won the first game, 6-5.
"You certainly don't want to lose a doubleheader, which is a very difficult thing to win or lose," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "It's been a long three days since we got back from Houston."
The Nationals were without a few pieces in their bullpen, including setup man Brandon Kintzler, who was unavailable in either game Sunday after his recent heavy workload. Roark responded with one of his best starts of the season, giving up three runs in six innings with nine strikeouts.
"Getting ahead of guys, there was a lot of strike ones and just attacking the zone," Roark said. "Curveball was really good again and just going off of that. Just keep them uncomfortable out there."
• Roark returns to old form vs. Mets
New York received some rare power from left fielder Brandon Nimmo, who delivered a two-run homer in the sixth, to back a rough outing from right-hander Seth Lugo (aka "Quarterrican") who scuffled through 3 2/3 innings where he struck out five but allowed two runs on four hits.
• Lugo impresses Collins in return from DL
The Nationals scored a pair of runs on a pair of bases-loaded walks in the sixth inning before Adam Lind (aka "Donnie" for Players Weekend) added a solo homer for insurance in the eighth inning and left-hander Sean Doolittle (aka "Doooooooo") secured his the save in the ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A rare long ball for "Nimms": Nimmo's first home run of the season -- just his second in his career - looked like it was going to change the momentum of the game in the sixth. His two-run shot off spoiled an otherwise solid outing for Roark, and it briefly gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. Per Statcast™, the ball left Nimmo's bat at 105.5 mph and traveled 416 feet to dead center.
Mets arms struggle to find the plate: Just as quickly as New York seized the lead in the sixth, its bullpen's command issues helped give it right back to Washington in the bottom of the frame. Following a leadoff single by Wilmer Difo ("El Lindo"), Hansel Robles ("El Penaco") walked three of the next four Nats to tie the game. The trend continued after Chasen Bradford ("Black Bear") was put in the game a batter later, walking in the go-ahead run before he induced an inning-ending double play.
"He just doesn't do that very much," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Robles. "I think when it starts to go south, I don't know if he can slow himself down enough to be able to regain [it]. We'll have to talk to him about it and see if we can get him back on track faster."
"I wouldn't say 100 percent, but confidence is a heck of a thing," -- Roark on if he feels similar to how he felt during the 2016 season
Mets: After an off-day Monday, the Mets travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds for a three-game set. Tuesday night's series opener will feature right hander Chris Flexen (3-2, 5.79 ERA) taking on Reds righty Sal Romano (3-5, 4.96 ERA) at 7:10 p.m. ET.
Nationals: The Nationals welcome the Marlins and hot-hitting Giancarlo Stanton to Nationals Park for the beginning of a three-game series on Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Max Scherzer is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list after he missed a turn through the rotation with inflammation on the left side of his neck.
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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.
Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Mets on Sunday.