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Washington Nationals rally from early deficit, but fall to New York Mets, 11-8 final in D.C.

Washington’s Nationals are off to an 0-2 start after dropping the first two of three with the New York Mets in D.C.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals fell behind early, but Juan Soto did his best to get the home team back into the second of three with the New York Mets in D.C.

Soto drove in two runs with RBI singles, and he scored the tying run in the sixth inning, knotting things up at 4-4, but Trevor Rosenthal’s debut in the Nats’ bullpen (which was Rosenthal’s first big league appearance since he had Tommy John surgery in 2017), was rough.

Rosenthal gave up back-to-back singles and a base-loading walk, surrendered a two-run single that put the Mets up for good, and was done without recording an out. 11-8 final.

Strasbunny: Stephen Strasburg went 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in five Grapefruit League outings this Spring, striking out 28 and walking just seven.

Nats’ manager Davey Martinez said he liked what he saw from the right-hander in Spring Training when he talked to reporters before today’s game.

“He’s actually worked all winter long, he changed his whole routine, and he looks about as good as I’ve ever seen him, he really does, and he’s still continued to work,” Martinez said.

“He had a good workout the other day and he looks good. He threw a bullpen the other day and he looked really good. So he’s excited. First one today and he’s excited to get out there and get going.”

Strasburg gave up two singles and a two-out, two-run double by Wilson Ramos in the top of the first inning this afternoon, falling in a 2-0 hole early in the second of three with the Mets in D.C. Jeff McNeil followed with an RBI triple off the GEICO wall in center, just out of Victor Robles’s reach, and it was 3-0 before the Nationals came up to bat.

Strasburg walked the opposing pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, with one out in the second, and a two-out liner to center by Pete Alonso sailed over Victor Robles’ head after the outfielder took a bad first step and couldn’t recover, 4-1. Would Robles have caught it with a good first step? Probably not, but still.

Strasburg’s outing ended with eight-straight Mets’ batters set down. He was up to eight Ks and 96 pitches after he struck out two in a 14-pitch sixth, but he left the mound with it 4-3 in New York’s favor...

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 96 P, 62 S, 7/2 GO/FO.

His name is Noah Syndergaard not Thor: Noah Syndergaard started today’s game with a streak of 15-straight scoreless innings going back to last season, but that ended quickly.

Anthony Rendon sent a 98 mph 1-0 sinker to right and off the base of the outfield wall for a two-out double, and Juan Soto followed with an RBI single on a grounder through the right side of the infield, getting the Nationals within two after they fell behind 3-0 early, 3-1.

Victor Robles hit an 0-1 sinker from Syndergaard out to left in the first at bat of the Nats’ half of the third, sending a solo shot out to left field to make it a two-run game, 4-2.

Syndergaard hit Adam Eaton with an 0-2 pitch in the next at bat, and Eaton moved up on a groundout by Trea Turner before scoring on an opposite field RBI single by Soto, 4-3.

Soto was 3 for 3 after he stretched a ground ball to center into a double in the first at bat of the Nationals’ sixth, hustling around to second for his first two-base hit of the season, and he took third on a Ryan Zimmerman groundout, before scoring on a well-struck sac fly off of Kurt Suzuki’s bat, 4-4.

Noah Syndergaard’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 103 P, 69 S, 7/2 GO/FO.

Watching Victor Robles: A missed catch on a leaping play in center field early. A bad read on a liner to center he might not have caught anyway. A solo homer to left on an 96 mph sinker from the Mets’ righty, Noah Syndergaard. A single off Syndergaard ... after which he got picked off first. It’s a bit of an up and down start for the outfielder, whose baserunning gaffe in the first game of the season got a lot of attention too. He’s likely going to settle in, but he is making things interesting early, and if he continues to be as up and down as has been these first two games, it will be interesting to see what happens when Michael A. Taylor returns from the IL. Robles should get plenty of time to stake his claim on the center field spot, however.

BULLPEN ACTION: Tony Sipp made his Nationals debut in a 4-4 tie in the top of the seventh inning, working around a walk in a scoreless, 20-pitch frame.

Justin Wilson got the bottom of the seventh for the Mets, and retired the Nationals in order.

Trevor Rosenthal made his debut with the Nationals in the top of the eighth, returning to the mound for the first time in the majors since 2017 (Tommy John surgery).

Rosenthal gave up back-to-back singles to the first two batters he faced, Wilson Ramos and Jeff McNeil, then walked Amed Rosario to load’em up with no one out. J.D. Davis stepped in next and sliced a two-run single over the right side of the infield, 6-4 Mets.

Kyle Barraclough came on for Rosenthal and balked in a run, 7-4, before throwing a pitch, then gave up a line drive double to right by Pete Alonso, 8-4. Matt Grace got out No. 3 by striking out Robinson Cano.

Jeurys Familia got the call for the Mets in the bottom of the eighth, but after a single by Rendon, a walk to Ryan Zimmerman, and an E:5 on a Kurt Suzuki grounder that J.D. Davis booted, he was lifted with the bases loaded in favor of Seth Lugo.

Matt Adams stepped in with a shot to tie it, and sent a fly to the scoreboard in right where Michael Conforto caught it with his back against the wall.

Matt Grace gave up a single in the first at bat of the ninth. Wander Suero took over at that point and gave up a walk and an RBI double, 9-4. Two more scored on a two-out single by Dominic Smith, 11-4.

The Nationals loaded’em up in the ninth as well, a run scored on a HBP on Anthony Rendon, 11-5, and Ryan Zimmerman cleared the bases with a two-out double, 11-8, but that’s how it ended, after Edwin Díaz replaced Seth Lugo and got the final out of the game.

Nationals now 0-2