WASHINGTON (AP) — Brandon Nimmo doesn’t care whether the Mets finish ahead of the Washington Nationals in the NL East, but he still thinks New York has plenty to play for in the final month of a disastrous season.
As a personal goal, hitting 20 homers for the first time was meaningful to Nimmo. For his team, breezing to victory with four rookies in the lineup was a promising sign for 2024.
“We’re trying to see what we have in store for next year. There might be a world that we sneak into the playoffs right now, I don’t know. I’m trying to see (Ronny) Mauricio, I’m trying to see (Brett) Baty, I’m trying to see (Francisco) Alvarez. I’m trying to see what they do on a daily basis and be around them and mentor them,” Nimmo said. “I could care less whether we finish last or second-to-last in the division.”
Nimmo went deep twice and Pete Alonso hit his 42nd homer to back a sharp outing by from José Quintana, and the Mets thumped the Nationals 11-5 on Tuesday night.
Rookie catcher Alvarez hit a three-run shot in the first inning, and Francisco Lindor also homered for the Mets, who finally gave Quintana some run support. The Mets had scored two or fewer runs in six of his eight starts entering Tuesday.
“I know one day they’re coming, and it was a perfect time,” Quintana said. “All the offense was great tonight, and I want to say, Alvy called a really good game.”
Pitching on six days’ rest, Quintana (2-5) worked a season-high seven innings. He gave up his only run two batters into the game and didn’t allow a hit after the third.
“He’s one of those guys, you better get him early,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Patrick Corbin (9-13) allowed a season-worst eight runs while failing to make it through five innings for the first time since opening day as Washington lost its sixth straight, matching its worst skid of the season.
“I think every team has stretches like this at some point,” Corbin said. “I was hoping to come in tonight and try to end that, and just didn’t happen.”
Before getting swept by Miami in four games at Nationals Park, Washington had won 16 of 20 at home to send underachieving, high-priced New York into the NL East cellar. The Mets now lead the last-place Nationals by 2 1/2 games.
Alvarez’s homer was his first since Aug. 1 and 22nd of the season. He turned on Corbin’s 1-0 fastball and sent it an estimated 419 feet to the bleachers behind the Mets’ bullpen in left to make it 4-0.
Lindor’s 26th homer began a three-run third. With two outs, Mark Vientos tripled off the center-field wall. Alvarez walked, stole the first base of his career and then scored on Baty’s bloop two-run single to make it 7-1.
Nimmo lined a solo shot in the fourth to the Nationals’ bullpen in right, where Andres Machado was already warming to replace Corbin. Alonso greeted Machado with a homer in the fifth. Nimmo led off the ninth with his 22nd of the year.
Corbin reached 13 losses for the fifth time in his career, including the last three seasons with the Nationals. The 34-year-old left-hander helped lead Washington to a World Series title in the first year of his six-year, $140 million contract but is 26-55 since.
Mets right-hander Sam Coonrod, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse before the game to replace the injured Carlos Carrasco, did not retire any of the five batters he faced in the eighth. He was charged with four runs. Sean Reid-Foley allowed two inherited runners to score but ended Washington’s chance at an unlikely rally.
“After the seventh inning, we’re pretty good at scoring runs, but we’ve got to get some runs early in the game,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.