Nationals rally late to beat Mets 3-2

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Mets Nationals Jacob Young
Washington Nationals’ fielder Jacob Young hits an RBI single to score Nationals’ Alex Call during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jacob Young’s 11th major league game ended with his Washington Nationals teammates mobbing him after he rounded first base, ripping his jersey and pouring a bucket of icy Gatorade onto his head.

Young grounded a game-ending single through a drawn-in infield, and the Nationals rallied past the New York Mets 3-2 on Wednesday night to end a six-game skid.

“Right when I hit it, I kind of saw where I hit it, and it was a good spot,” Young said. “It felt great to kind of look in the dugout and everyone was already coming out. It’s a great feeling to have all your boys running out after you.”

Carter Kieboom opened the ninth with a four-pitch walk against Phil Bickford (4-5), who then hit Jake Alu with an 0-2 pitch. Ildemaro Vargas laid down a sacrifice bunt to set up Young’s walk-off hit.

Young went 2 for 4 with a ground-rule double and has an eight-game hitting streak. The 24-year-old, drafted in the seventh round in 2021 out of the University of Florida, has impressed teammates with his hitting, baserunning and outfield defense since he was promoted from Triple-A last month.

“He plays hard and aggressive, and he’s fast. Plays a lot with our style of play. I like it a lot,” shortstop CJ Abrams said.

Kyle Finnegan (7-4) retired the side in the ninth for the last-place Nationals, who moved within 1 1/2 games of the underachieving Mets in the NL East. Washington split this two-game set and concluded the season series against New York with a 6-7 record.

The Mets led 2-0 through six innings behind José Butto, whose fourth major league start was by far his best. He departed with two men on and one out in the seventh, but reliever Trevor Gott allowed both inherited runners to score. Pinch-hitter Vargas lined Gott’s first pitch to right for an RBI single, and Abrams tied it with his two-out single.

Butto was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse last week and slid into the rotation spot vacated by veteran Carlos Carrasco, who broke his right pinky in a weightlifting mishap. After he struck out Travis Blankenhorn to end a perfect sixth, he pumped his fist as he strode off the mound.

The 25-year-old right-hander was charged with two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out six while pitching more than five innings for the first time.

“He stayed in attack mode. We were real proud of him,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That was as much as you could expect him to do.”

Fans at Nationals Park could hardly expect a pitcher’s duel with two unproven starters and a game-time temperature of 97 degrees Fahrenheit. But Joan Adon kept Washington in the game for his five innings.

Adon wanted no part of Pete Alonso, walking the Mets slugger three times, including two intentionally after falling behind in the count. Adon threw nine pitches to Alonso, none for strikes.

The Mets had baserunners in every inning against Adon but only scored twice. Brandon Nimmo led off the game with a double and scored on Francisco Lindor’s single. New York made it 2-0 in the fifth when Lindor led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Mark Vientos.

For more on the Mets, visit AMNY.com