Nats drop opener to Mets

Just up from the minors, Washington Nationals catcher Drew Millas found himself in a clutch situation in the bottom of the ninth Monday night. The Washington Nationals had scored a pair of runs to pull within one of the choke-prone New York Mets and had the bases loaded with two outs. But Millas was overmatched by Mets reliever Jake Diekman, who struck him out on three pitches to preserve the Mets’ 8-7 win.

MacKenzie Gore took the loss after leaving the game with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Reliever Dylan Floro gave up a sacrifice fly and a pair of hits, allowing all three inherited runners to score plus one for which Floro was responsible, turning a 4-3 Nats lead into a 7-4 deficit.

Successful road trip

The Nationals’ loss dampened somewhat the enthusiasm generated by their just-concluded road trip. Washington took three of four in Atlanta before giving the red-hot Guardians all they could handle in Cleveland, winning one of three tightly contested games and stopping the Guardians’ nine-game home winning streak in the process.

The Nats’ anemic .232 team batting average remains a concern, but some previously cold bats have heated up lately. During the past week, Joey Meneses, Nick Senzel and Joey Gallo – yes, that Joey Gallo – have been raking at a .300-or-better clip, and Lane Thomas is almost there (.296).

What’s ahead

Expect the Nats to bounce back and win tonight’s game despite the loss of expected starter Trevor Williams (5-0, 2.22) to a due to a flexor muscle strain in his pitching arm. Lefty DJ Herz has been called up from the minors to make his major league debut, following in the footsteps of Mitchell Parker. The Nats should take the series Wednesday behind Patrick Corbin (1-6, 5.83). His full-season stats don’t look good, but Corbin has given up three earned runs or fewer four times in his last five starts.

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