NEW YORK (AP) — The series opener between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets was suspended in the top of the second inning Tuesday night because of rain.
Washington is ahead 3-1 on the strength of a three-run homer from Juan Soto in his return to the starting lineup. Play will resume Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. as part of a single-admission doubleheader, and the suspended game will remain scheduled for nine innings.
Under pandemic rules, the regularly scheduled game between the teams Wednesday night will now be shortened to seven innings.
Mets manager Luis Rojas said reliever Drew Smith will likely be the team’s pitcher when the suspended game resumes. Nationals manager Dave Martinez was not made available to reporters Tuesday night.
Marcus Stroman is slated to start for New York against Joe Ross in the originally scheduled game Wednesday.
The game Tuesday began on time despite a forecast of inclement weather and rapidly approaching storm clouds. Rain began falling in the first inning, when Victor Robles and Alcides Escobar singled before Soto homered off Mets starter Carlos Carrasco.
Soto was limited to a pair of pinch-hitting appearances over the previous three games against Atlanta due to a sore right knee.
With rain intensifying in the bottom half, the struggling Mets — who have lost four straight and nine of 11 while falling from first to third place in the NL East — scored when Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith hit back-to-back doubles off Paolo Espino with two outs.
Riley Adams led off the second with a single before a giant streak of lightning made Carrasco jump. The teams were called off the field at 7:42 p.m. and the game was suspended 1 hour, 57 minutes later.
“I did hear that we were probably going to get some rain between 7:30 and 8, somewhere in that window,” Rojas said. “I don’t think anyone was aware that it was going to be like this.”
Rojas said the Mets spent much of the delay watching the Los Angeles Dodgers-Philadelphia Phillies game, which was also interrupted when heavy rain arrived in Philadelphia.
“We saw something popped up there, too,” Rojas said. “These things happen sometimes. That’s what we ran into.”
Rojas said Carrasco, who threw 33 pitches in his third start since missing the first four months of the season with a torn right hamstring, participated in a simulated game indoors in order to increase his pitch count. Carrasco threw 58 pitches in his season debut July 30 and 62 pitches last Wednesday.
The suspension is the second of the season for the Mets. Stroman got just one out in the top of the first inning against Miami on April 11 before rain halted play. That game is scheduled to be completed Aug. 31.
Mets SS Javier Báez (lower back) was out of the starting lineup, though Rojas said he hoped Báez would be available off the bench. Báez was injured while swinging against Philadelphia on Sunday.
Nationals: Ross (4-9, 4.02 ERA) hasn’t won in his last four starts.
Mets: Stroman (7-11, 2.83) has lost three consecutive starts.