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Nelson Cruz’s 450th HR highlights Nats’ win over Mets

Sportsnaut
Apr 10, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) rounds the bases in front of New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) after hitting a home run during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Nelson Cruz’s two-run single capped a three-run eighth inning Sunday afternoon as the host Washington Nationals earned their first win of the season by beating the New York Mets 4-2 in the finale of a four-game series.

The Nationals avoided their first 0-4 start since the 2009 team opened 0-7. The Mets were trying to start 4-0 for the first time since 2012.

Cruz’s first-inning homer — the 450th of his career — provided the Nationals their only offense until the eighth, when Washington took advantage of a pair of miscues by Mets first baseman Pete Alonso.

Yadiel Hernandez led off the eighth by singling against Chasen Shreve. Trevor Williams (0-1), making his season debut, entered and gave up a first-pitch single to Maikel Franco. Lucius Fox followed with a safety squeeze but Alonso seemed to hesitate, unsure whether or not to underhand the throw or deliver it overhand, before he sidearmed the toss to the plate, where pinch-runner Dee Strange-Gordon slid in with the tying run ahead of the tag.

After Victor Robles lined out, Carlos Hernandez hit a potential double-play ball to first. But Alonso’s threw drew Francisco Lindor off the bag and both runners were safe.

Juan Soto then grounded to Alonso, who fired home to force Franco, before Cruz ripped a 2-2 pitch past a diving Lindor.

The rally made a winner out of Kyle Finnegan (1-0), who tossed a perfect eighth. Tanner Rainey worked around a leadoff single by Mark Canha to earn his first save.

The Mets scored both their runs in the fourth, when Lindor homered and Canha delivered a tie-breaking single. Canha finished with three hits.

Nationals starter Erick Fedde allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five.

Mets starter Carlos Carrasco was in line for the win until the Nationals’ comeback. Carrasco allowed one run on two hits and no walks while striking out five over 5 2/3 innings. He retired the final 15 batters he faced after Josh Bell singled following Cruz’s homer.

–Field Level Media