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Taijuan Walker guts out gem, Mark Canha powers Mets to series win over Nationals

Taijuan Walker Mets
May 12, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) pitches against Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell (19) during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Taijuan Walker gutted seven scoreless innings with just three hits allowed despite dealing with back issues to guide the Mets (22-11) to a 4-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon. 

A night after Tylor Megill lasted just 1.1 innings in an 8-3 loss, prompting the Mets to lean on relievers Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek for 6.2 innings, Walker ensured his team didn’t need to expend extra bullpen resources even though he struck out just one batter.

All the while, he was seen between innings with a wrap around his midsection with heat administered to his mid and lower back. 

Thursday’s result ensured that New York won yet another series — their ninth in 10 tries so far this season. 

New York got most of their offensive support from Mark Canha, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI to break out of an 0-for-10 slump.

Mark Canha Mets
May 12, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets left fielder Mark Canha (19) talks with Washington Nationals second baseman Cesar Hernandez (1) while standing at second base during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets managed to put up three runs over the first four innings against wild Nationals pitcher Joan Adon, who walked five of the first 10 batters he faced while also allowing three hits while hitting a batter. 

A pair of two-out hits — a two-RBI single by Canha in the first and a run-scoring single by Tomas Nido in the fourth — staked Taijuan Walker to a 3-0 lead, though it could’ve been more considering New York stranded five runners on base during that span.

Nationals dysfunction also did its part to help the Mets. 

After Juan Soto led off the fourth inning with a double, a grounder by Josh Bell to third base inexplicably caught the Nationals star in a pickle between second and third. 

In the run down, Francisco Lindor tossed the ball to Walker, who tagged Soto while the two collided and fell to the ground.

It was the last thing the right-handed hurler needed given the discomfort he appeared to be dealing with. But from his knees, he tried to get Bell — who was trying to advance — at second, but his throw went wide and into right field,

Luckily for him, it was backed up by outfielder Starling Marte, who gunned Bell down at third base for an official 5-6-1 fielder’s choice followed by a 9-6 putout.

Canha added an exclamation point in the top of the ninth inning when he took Steve Cishek deep over the left-center-field wall for his second home run of the season.

Juan Soto spoiled the shutout in the ninth inning when he hit a solo shot off closer Edwin Diaz.

Brandon Nimmo, who recorded two walks and a single on Thursday, extended his on-base streak to 23 consecutive games and his hitting streak to eight games. 

For more Mets and Taijuan Walker coverage, visit AMNY.com

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