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Washington Nationals news & notes: Nats beat New York Mets; go for split in finale today...

Notes and quotes from the Nationals’ win over the Mets last night in Citi Field...

One day you’re wondering aloud about the direction of your team after they’ve traded their closer, the next you’re on a different team in a different league. Life, as the memes — Bryce Harper pronounces it may-mays — said a few years back, comes at you fast. It’s an exciting time in Flushing. Fans in Citi Field let the Mets know how they felt when the club fell behind Washington 4-0 in the first inning of last night’s matchup with the Nationals, but the “Let’s Go Mets” chants replaced the jeers when the home team scored a few innings later.

Unfortunately for the Mets, who traded closer David Robertson to the Miami Marlins, and a day later dealt Max Scherzer to the Texas Rangers, they were behind by four runs early, 5-1 after two, and 8-1 after three, in what ended up an 11-6 loss at home, in a game that started 80 minutes late because of rain.

Davey Martinez’s club came out swinging, with an ROE, four straight singles, two of which drove in runs, and a sac fly for the early lead, with CJ Abrams reaching on the error, and Jeimer Candelario, Joey Meneses (RBI), Luis García, and Dominic Smith (2 RBIs) connecting for the singles, before Stone Garrett’s sac fly off Mets’ starter Carlos Carrasco, who did not make it out of the third.

Candelario doubled to drive in a run in the second, 5-0, Riley Adams drove in two with a double in the third, and Lane Thomas singled later in the inning, 8-0, then both Meneses and Garrett drove in runs in the ninth, before Adams doubled again to drive in two more, making it 11-4.

Patrick Corbin gave up four runs on six hits in 5 23 IP, in which he threw 93 pitches, 59 for strikes, walking no one, striking out two, and giving up two home runs, and earned the W for the visitors, who can earn a split of the four-game set in today’s series finale.

Corbin generated just five swinging strikes on the night, four with his slider, but he got 19 called strikes, 11 with his sinker in a solid-enough start with the offense providing support for the veteran starter.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

“I think I was just a tad off on some pitches,” Corbin said in assessing his own outing. “Not really getting ahead inside as well as I’d like to. Kind of just grinded through as long as I could go. But I definitely was just attacking them as the game went on, a little bit later. But great defense behind, and obviously to put up those runs early was huge.”

“CJ set the tone just by hustling and beating that out a little bit,” manager Davey Martinez said after the win.

“And then we started swinging the bats. We scored some runs early, and we kept adding on, so it was a great night for our offense, and then Patrick kept us in the ballgame, so it was a good night.”

Adams’ 2 for 5 night left him with a .304 AVG on the year, with his doubles his 7th and 8th in 100 plate appearances, over which he’s also hit four home runs.

“He’s getting ready on time,” manager Davey Martinez said before last night’s game, “and he’s taking some really good swings, and he’s having a really good year for us. He hasn’t played much, but the times he has played he’s helped us not only hitting but catching as well, so he’s done really well.”

Martinez had more praise for his backup catcher after the game.

“He’s been aggressive. He’s staying aggressive,” the skipper said. “Even the last ball he hit, the one before that to right-center field, he stayed on that ball really well. He’s playing well, he really is, and I’m proud of him coming out every day, doing his work, trying to get better, he has gotten better, so it’s good for him, good for us.”

Candelario hit his 30th double of the year, and went 2 for 3 with a walk, a night after an injury scare for the 29-year-old third baseman, who could be playing for another team a couple days from now. He said on Friday night the bumps and bruises were all part of it.

He just wants to play every day, and will do everything he can to take the field.

“I just want to be in the lineup every single day, no matter what happens,” Candelario said, and his manager assured reporters on Saturday afternoon that no trade chatter would get him to keep the veteran infielder out of the lineup.

“If I did that, I might get some ramifications from up there,” Martinez said, referring to the front office with a laugh. “I’m not doing that. No, we play these guys. It’s part of the game.

“Unfortunately, that is a part of the game. But I’m thinking about today and trying to win a game today.”

Candelario helped the Nationals do that, and in the ninth inning he was still hustling, as he got on via HBP, then scored on a line drive single by Meneses, hustling around the bases a half-inning before the home team put up two runs.

“He leads by example,” Martinez said of Candelario hustling late.

“He busted out of the box on the ball that he hit in the gap to get to second base. If you’re a young guy, and I’m watching that guy, I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to — hey, this guy has been in the league a long time, and this is the way you play baseball. And I love that he’s doing that, he’s showing these young kids how to play the game.”

Martinez’s club went 1-0 last night, and they can earn a split of the four-game series with a win in the finale this afternoon.


Davey Martinez on the Mets trading Max Scherzer to the Rangers:

“You’re always surprised — especially a team like the Mets that has so many good players, and all of a sudden they decided the trade was imminent with him. I can say to the Rangers that they’re getting a quality starter, a guy that’s going to go out there and pitch and give them everything he’s got. He’s definitely going to help Texas over there. As you all know, I love Max. He’s done some unbelievable things for us here in D.C., and I wish him well. I’m glad that we don’t have to face him again. But I wish him and his family well always.”