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Lucas Duda homers twice as Mets beat Nats, 3-2, and move within one game of first place

New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda receives

New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda receives congratulations from his teammates after his solo homer to right in the bottom of the fourth inning during a game against the Washington Nationals on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015 at Citi Field. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The trade deadline is behind them and the new acquisitions are in the house. Slugger Yoenis Cespedes was the latest pickup to make his Mets debut.

The band is all here. Now it's time for the team to play.

The Mets Saturday night moved to within one game of Washington in the NL East by beating the Nationals, 3-2, on Lucas Duda's go-ahead double in the eighth inning before a sellout crowd of 42,996 on Fireworks Night. It was the second-largest Mets crowd in Citi Field history.

Cespedes, the big bat the Mets acquired on Friday, was greeted with a standing ovation. He went 0-for-3 with a key walk.

The Mets, who beat Washington in extra innings on Friday, can tie for the division lead with a victory Sunday night in a nationally televised game.

Duda drove in all three runs with two home runs and his go-ahead double, which came after Nationals manager Matt Williams inexplicably intentionally walked Cespedes to get to a guy who had already homered twice, including a game-tying blast in the seventh inning.

Duda has eight home runs in his last seven games and 20 for the season. His last eight hits before the double were home runs.

Curtis Granderson led off with the eighth with a double off former Yankee Matt Thornton. Daniel Murphy grounded to the pitcher before Thornton intentionally walked Cespedes to get to Duda.

Duda lined a double one-hop off the leftfield wall and Granderson scored to make it 3-2.

Jeurys Familia, who had blown his last three save opportunities, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 28th save.

Mets starter Jacob deGrom looked to be headed for an early shower when the Nationals scored twice in a 31-pitch first inning. But he regrouped and finished with a flourish, striking out his final two batters in a six-inning effort that included a season-high 117 pitches.

The Nationals hit deGrom hard in the first. Anthony Rendon led off with a drive to center that Granderson ran down. Granderson started in center and was flanked by Cespedes in left and Kelly Johnson in right. Not the Mets' strongest defensive alignment, but probably not one they will use all that often.

Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper singled to put runners on first and third. Ryan Zimmerman lined out to center but Escobar failed to tag. Jayson Werth walked to load the bases before Ian Desmond grounded a two-run single past a diving Ruben Tejada and into centerfield.

For the first 32/3 innings, the Mets had only Duda's walk off righthander Joe Ross. Duda picked up the first hit, too -- a long solo shot into the bleachers in right-center that made it 2-1.

Cespedes received a standing ovation when he came to bat in the first inning, though it wasn't as big as the one Wilmer Flores received in the second. Flores, who hit the walk-off home run in the 12th inning in the Mets' 2-1 win on Friday, has become Flushing fan favorite No. 1 since his tearful reaction to (almost) getting traded the other night.

Cespedes grounded to short in his first at-bat. Flores nearly hit a two-run homer to left in the second, but Werth caught it at the wall.

Cespedes grounded to third in the fourth and struck out in the sixth, one pitch after nearly hitting a game-tying homer to left. It was a few feet foul.

DeGrom allowed two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

Duda led off the bottom of the seventh with a first-pitch homer to left to tie the game at 2.


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