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Washington Nationals’ lineup for the series finale with the New York Mets

Washington’s Nationals try to avoid sweep after losing the first two games to the New York Mets in Citi Field.

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Martinez’s club has had late leads in Citi Field in each of the last five games, but the Washington Nationals have found a way to lose each of those matchups, including the last one, a devastating 4-3 loss on Saturday night.

Juan Soto’s second homer of the game put the Nats up 3-2 over the New York Mets in the bottom of the eighth inning in the second of three in Flushing, Queens.

Fernando Rodney came on in the bottom of the eighth inning and served up a game-tying blast by Luis Guillorme, then an ROE and single in the next two at bats put two on with no one out in a tie game.

Daniel Hudson took over and got an out, but both runners moved up, and an intentional walk loaded the bases before J.D. Davis hit a go-ahead sac fly that put the Mets up, 4-3.

“You’re looking at a Mets team that’s surging right now,” Martinez told reporters after New York won their eight straight and 15th in the last 16, “and they’re putting the ball in play.

“They’re hitting home runs. We’ve just got to make our pitches and keep battling.”

“I believe in the guys, and we’ve got to stay in the fight, and that’s all it takes. We’ve got a lot of baseball left I tell you that right now, but it’s going to be like this for the rest of the year. We’re fighting to get in the playoffs, they’re fighting to get in the playoffs, so it’s going to be a lot of fun, and I believe in those boys in that clubhouse. People kicked us. We were down. And you saw what they can do, so not by any means are we down. We’re right there, so let’s come back tomorrow and do it again.”

Martinez did, however, acknowledge that as much as he likes the way his team is fighting, it doesn’t get any easier in this afternoon’s 1:10 PM EDT series finale, when they go up against Jacob deGrom, who’s unbeaten in his last six outings, (3-0) with a 1.35 ERA, 13 walks, 54 Ks, and a .186/.253/.271 line against in 40 IP over that stretch.

“We’re playing good,” Martinez said.

“Unfortunate that they came back there, but hey, the boys are playing hard, they are, now we’ve got to come back and face another tough opponent tomorrow in deGrom, but these games like that there’s a lot energy, they’re electric. As you can see, one of the youngest stars in baseball is shining, and that’s unbelievable, the way he’s going out there and playing. He’s doing well. But we’ve got to come back tomorrow and will it. I told the boys, ‘Hey, we’ve got to will it tomorrow, just come out and keep playing baseball and let’s come out on top.’”

The young star he referred to is Soto, of course, who’s homered three times in the first two games of the series, going 5 for 9 with the three homers, a double, and five RBIs so far.

Soto goes into today’s game with a 16-game on-base streak going, over which he’s 17 for 57 (.298/.438/.719) with three doubles, seven home runs, and 15 walks in 73 plate appearances.

“He’s been like that all year,” Martinez said when a reporter noted how good he’s been in the series. “I mean, he’s unbelievable, he really is.

“Like I said, he’s feeling the energy, he’s very poised, he goes out there and he’s getting pitches to hit, he’s taking pitches that he should be taking, he’s doing really well.”

Will Soto and the Nationals avoid a sweep this afternoon in Citi Field?