Major League Baseball

Mets try to recover after historic collapse vs. Nats

METS (70-68) AT NATIONALS (78-59)
1:05 p.m. ET; YouTube

After pulling off an improbable win on Tuesday night, the Washington Nationals will try to take the rubber match of their three-game series against the New York Mets on Wednesday in the nation’s capital.

Kurt Suzuki capped a seven-run ninth inning with a three-run walk-off homer as the Nationals victimized the Mets bullpen for their 20th win in 26 games. It was the largest ninth-inning comeback in franchise history.

Washington leads the National League wild-card race by 3 1/2 games.

“It’s been a crazy year,” said Ryan Zimmerman, who contributed a two-run pinch double in the ninth. “That’s the only way to sum it up. For me, for the team, for everyone. It kind of fits into the narrative, I guess.”

The Mets will try to rebound as they send right-hander Zack Wheeler (9-7, 4.41 ERA) out for the series finale.

Wheeler is coming off a no-decision in an 11-5 Mets win over the Phillies. He went six innings, allowing a run on seven hits while striking out four and walking three. It was his first quality start since Aug. 6 and helped New York snap a six-game losing streak.

“Losing six in a row, you need to get back on the right track, and that’s all I was trying to do tonight — put up zeroes and try to give us a chance to win,” Wheeler told reporters of his start at the time.

He’s 4-10 with a 5.17 ERA in 17 career starts against Washington.

This season Wheeler is 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in four starts versus the Nationals. The last time he faced them, on May 21, he allowed three runs on four hits, striking out six with two walks in a no-decision.

Washington right-hander Anibal Sanchez (8-6, 3.80) hasn’t lost a decision since May 10. Last time out he allowed two runs on three hits over five innings of a no-decision against the Marlins, with four walks and six strikeouts helping drive his pitch count to 94.

Sanchez has two no-decisions and a 4.26 ERA this season against the Mets. For his career, he’s 5-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 16 starts against them.

After a five-run ninth inning that gave them a 10-4 lead, the Mets appeared on the verge of their second straight win in Washington on Tuesday. However, three Mets relievers combined for one out with Edwin Diaz surrendering the fatal blow from Suzuki.

“When I came in here, I didn’t really know what just happened,” Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo told the media after the game. “It kind of just seemed like a bad dream. I don’t know. That’s hard to do even in a Little League game I feel like, come back from (six) runs down in the bottom of the ninth against guys throwing 99 miles an hour. I don’t really have words for it.”

The Mets have suffered other bad losses this season, but Tuesday’s defeat may cripple their wild-card hopes as they fell five games behind the Cubs, holders of the NL’s second wild-card spot.

“This might be the toughest (loss) of the season,” Jeff McNeil said. “We had it. Quick turnaround (Wednesday). Day game. So, we’ve got to flush it and we’ve got to win (Wednesday).”

New York lost on a night they got home runs from McNeil, Nimmo, Pete Alonso and Joe Panik.

Juan Soto hit a two-run shot off Jacob deGrom in eighth. Suzuki’s homer was his 16th and his 58 RBIs are his most since he collected 61 in 2014.

“He gets up there and takes a hack,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He gets in a good position to hit, and he got a ball he can hit.”

–Field Level Media

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