Tensions flare as Mets beat Nationals again, Max Scherzer wins a debut

Max Scherzer was a winner in his Mets debut, allowing three runs on three hits with six strikeouts over six innings against his former club while Starling Marte drove in three runs in a 7-3 New York victory over the Nationals on Friday night as tensions continued to rise following erratic Washington pitching.

Benches cleared in the fifth inning with the Mets up 4-3 when Francisco Lindor was hit in the c-flap of his helmet by reliever Steve Cishek. It was the fourth time a New York batter was hit in the opening two games – James McCann getting plunked twice before Pete Alonso took a pitch to the mouth on opening night.

Manager Buck Showalter, in just his second game as skipper, led the charge out of the dugout as a crowd with near the pitcher’s mound. While it remained relatively timid, Cishek was ejected from the game while Lindor – who was shaken up – did not return. X-rays on his jaw came back negative and he passed concussion testing.

Apr 8, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) covers his face after being hit by pitch while manager Buck Showalter (11) walks with him during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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For a second-straight year, Jeff McNeil homered on his birthday, hooking a solo shot inside the right-field foul pole and into the seats in the third inning to draw level after the Nationals took the lead through a Yadiel Hernandez sacrifice fly.

Robinson Cano put the Mets ahead 3-1 with a two-RBI single in the fourth, but Josh Bell provided an immediate answer, taking Scherzer deep for a two-run shot to tie the game at the bottom of the frame.

Brandon Nimmo led off the fifth inning with a triple and came in to score on a Marte double to give the Mets the lead, running Josiah Gray from the game for Cishek. The first and only batter he faced was Lindor, as he delivered an 89-mph fastball high and tight that caught Lindor – who was squaring up to bunt – and sparked the clearing of benches.

While the Mets missed out on tacking on insurance after things settled down in the fifth, Marte came through in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single to give the Mets a three-run lead.

For a team that ranked 28th in the majors last year with a .204 batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs, Marte’s big single bumped the Mets’ production in such situations this year to 4-for-7.

Meanwhile, Scherzer – who spent seven years with the Nationals – settled after the Bell home run, retiring eight of the next nine batters he faced to get through six innings at 80 pitches.

After Pete Alonso’s lead-off double in the ninth and the subsequent 30-minute rain delay, McNeil picked up his second RBI of the night with a two-out single to make it seven for the visitors.

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