Mets fall apart in loss to Na­tion­als

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK — Bryce Harper hit a star­tling, bro­ken-bat homer early, then grounded a key sin­gle dur­ing a six-run surge in the eighth in­ning that sent the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als past the New York Mets 8-6 Mon­day night.

The Na­tion­als ral­lied against five pitch­ers in their big burst, win­ning for just the fourth time in 13 games. The Mets had been off to the best start in fran­chise his­tory be­hind the top bullpen in the ma­jors be­fore col­laps­ing.

Trail­ing 6-1, Wash­ing­ton com­bined five hits, three walks and a hit bat­ter to take the lead.

Harper’s two-run sin­gle off Jerry Blevins made it 6-3. Wilmer Difo tied it with a two-out, two-run sin­gle off Jeurys Fa­milia, and Michael A. Tay­lor drew a bases-loaded walk from the Mets closer for the go-ahead run.

Howie Ken­drick added a solo homer in the ninth.

Harper’s ma­jor league­lead­ing eighth home run was a show of sheer power and strength. His bat broke into two pieces, but the ball still flew an es­ti­mated 406 feet to right-cen­ter field. Harper con­nected for a solo drive in the first in­ning off Ja­cob deGrom. The bat shat­tered just above his hands, and the bar­rel he­li­coptered into the high, pro­tec­tive net­ting be­hind home plate on the first base side.

The five-time All-Star trot­ted most of the way to first hold­ing the few inches of the han­dle that re­mained. On his way back to the dugout, Harper play­fully pulled up his sleeve to show his bi­ceps.

DeGrom struck out 12 in 71⁄3 in­nings, the long­est out­ing by a Mets pitcher this sea­son. He was cruis­ing when he left with two on, one out and a five-run lead. He also drove in a run with a safety squeeze.

A.J. Cole (1-1) got the win de­spite giv­ing up As­drubal Cabrera’s two-run homer in the sev­enth that made it 6-1. Ryan Mad­son got his sec­ond save.

AJ Ramos (0-1) took the loss.

Na­tion­als starter Jeremy Hel­lick­son gave up two runs in 42⁄3 in­nings of his Na­tion­als de­but. Signed to a mi­nor-league con­tract late in spring train­ing, he was added to the ros­ter be­fore the game.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Na­tion­als: 3B An­thony Ren­don (bruised left big toe) is still sore af­ter foul­ing a ball off his foot Fri­day. … 2B Daniel Mur­phy (knee surgery) ar­rived in Florida and will be­gin work­outs Tues­day at the spring train­ing com­plex.

Mets: OF Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes, who played in the Mets’ first 14 games, didn’t start. The slug­ger was hit­ting just .190, strik­ing out 26 times in 58 at-bats. Man­ager Mickey Call­away says Ce­s­pedes’ tim­ing at the plate is slightly off, and felt a break might help. Ce­s­pedes flied out as a pinch hit­ter. … OF Jay Bruce (plan­tar fasci­itis) didn’t start for the sec­ond straight game. He grounded out as a pinch hit­ter. He hopes to be in the lineup Tues­day.

Kathy Willens / As­so­ci­ated Press

Bryce Harper of the Na­tion­als breaks hit bat as he hits a solo home run in the first in­ning of Mon­day night’s game against the Mets in New York.

Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

Trea Turner, left, and Bryce Harper of the Na­tion­als cel­e­brate af­ter de­feat­ing the Mets Mon­day night at Citi Field in New York.

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