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Washington Nationals drop 11-6 decision to New York Mets: Aníbal Sánchez struggles again...

Aníbal Sánchez had a 3-0 lead to work with before he even took the mound, but it didn’t last long... 11-6 Mets final in Citi Field.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

It started with a rough outing for Aníbal Sánchez, who squandered the 3-0 lead he started the game with, giving up four runs in the bottom of the first and five runs total in 2 23 IP.

Juan Soto homered twice, once in the first inning, and then again in the sixth, making it a 5-4 game in the Mets’ favor at that point, but a five-run bottom of the sixth for the home team set them up in what was an 11-6 win in the end.

The Mets’ first win of the four-game series set up a rubber match tomorrow afternoon’s 1:10 PM ET series finale.

Sánchez vs the Mets: Aníbal Sánchez’s first two starts of the 2020 campaign did not go well, with the 36-year-old, 15-year veteran (0-2) with 16 hits and nine runs allowed in 10 13 IP, over which opposing hitters had a .340/.392/.745 line against the right-hander.

Sánchez gave up 10 hits, three walks, and five runs, all of them earned, last time out, when the Baltimore Orioles chased him after just 5 13 IP.

“I always say when I’m pitching I fight,” Sánchez said after what ended up an 11-0 loss to the O’s, “so today probably I received more punches than what I give.”

Sánchez got punched again in the first at bat of tonight’s game, taking the mound with a 3-0 lead, and giving up a leadoff home run by Brandon Nimmo, who bounced a 2-2 sinker off the facade below the second deck in right field in Citi Field to make it a 3-1 game.

A two-out HBP on Michael Conforto got Pete Alonso to the plate, and Alonso’s RBI double made it a one-run game, before he scored on a double by Dominic Smith to tie it up, 3-3, and 4-3 when Andrés Giménez hit an RBI single over short to drive Smith in.

Back-to-back, one-out walks in the third set former Nats’ catcher Wilson Ramos up with a two-out RBI opportunity that he cashed in with a single to center that made it a 5-3 game.

That was it for Sánchez...

Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 71 P, 42 S, 1/2 GO/FO.

Gsellman vs the Nationals: With Michael Wacha injured and on the IL, with inflammation in his right shoulder, the Mets turned to Robert Gsellman as the starter in the third of four with the Nationals in Citi Field, now that he’s back off the IL (right triceps tendinitis).

“He just came to join us in the pen,” Mets’ skipper Luis Rojas explained, “that was the original plan, obviously coming from the IL, but per circumstances, now he’s a guy that we feel that we could start stretching out and plug him into the rotation starting tonight.”

What could they expect out of him in his first start back?

“I would say 45 to 60 pitches, 45-60,” Rojas said, “something like that, and probably give us two to four innings first start, and we can start moving from there for the next start.”

Gsellam got into trouble early, with Trea Turner doubling to start the game, moving up on an infield single by Adam Eaton, and scoring on a 3-run bomb to right by Juan Soto, that cleared the seats and landed on the concourse above the second deck in Citi Field.

Just an absolute 466 ft. bomb of a home run. 3-0 Nationals.

Gsellman tossed a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 second, after his teammates picked him up with a 4-run bottom of the first, 4-3, and that was it for the starter...

Robert Gsellman’s Line: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 33 P, 22 S, 1/3 GO/FO.

Soto, more like Sofar: Juan Soto hit one 463 ft in the series opener in Citi Field, but he has more power in him apparently, because tonight’s blast in the first traveled 466 feet and up into the concourse above the second deck in right field in NY. That shouldn’t be possible...

Soto’s second home run of the game didn’t travel quite as far, but it cleared the wall in left-center field to make it a one-run game in the 6th. #OppoSoto

BULLPEN ACTION: Chasen Shreve replaced Gsellman on the mound at the start of the third, with a 4-3 lead, and worked around a Starlin Castro single for a scoreless frame.

Sam Freeman got the Nationals out of the third after Sánchez gave up his fifth run, and after Mets’ righty Jeurys Familia worked around a single in a scoreless top of the fourth, he came back out, recording one out in the fourth inning, before he motioned to the bench and left the game after the trainer made a quick visit to the mound.

Kyle Finnegan came on after Freeman left the mound, and worked around a walk to keep it a two-run game in the Mets’ favor.

Familia returned to the mound in the top of the fifth, hit Victor Robles with one down and walked Adam Eaton with two down, before striking Starlin Castro out to end the inning.

Justin Wilson came on for NY in the top of the sixth, and gave up Juan Soto’s second home run of the game on a 2-2 cutter outside Soto hit out to left field for his fourth of the season, 5-4 Mets.

Ryne Harper got the call in the bottom of the sixth, in a one-run game, and gave up a walk and a single to the first two batters he faced, but he got two outs... only to have a Michael Conforto liner to right field get over Adam Eaton’s head, 7-4, before Pete Alonso hit a two-run shot to left to make it a 9-4 game, and 10-4 on a solo shot to right by Dominic Smith.

Dellin Betances struck out the side in the top of the seventh inning.

Erick Fedde worked around a single in a scoreless, 16-pitch bottom of the seventh. Still 10-4 Mets.

Starlin Castro hit an opposite field blast to right in the top of the eighth, taking Drew Smith out to right-center for his 2nd of the 2020 campaign, 10-5. Juan Soto singled with one out, but he was stranded two outs later.

Michael Conforto singled and Pete Alonso doubled off Fedde with one out in the bottom of the eighth, and the Mets’ 11th run of the game scored on groundout, 11-5.

Brad Brach got the ninth for NY, and gave up a home run to left by Kurt Suzuki, 11-6, but that was as close as the Nationals got. Final Score: 11-6 Mets.

Nationals now 6-8