Rats! With critter in grass, NL East-best Mets beat Nats 4-2

WASHINGTON (AP) — There was no question this rat was for real. So, too, are these New York Mets.

A critter scurried through the outfield grass just before James McCann’s sacrifice fly drove in the go-ahead score during a three-run sixth inning Tuesday night, and Carlos Carrasco nearly got to the seventh again, helping the Mets beat the Washington Nationals 4-2.

The sight of a creature drew gasps from some spectators, cheers from others, in...

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WASHINGTON (AP) — There was no question this rat was for real. So, too, are these New York Mets.

A critter scurried through the outfield grass just before James McCann’s sacrifice fly drove in the go-ahead score during a three-run sixth inning Tuesday night, and Carlos Carrasco nearly got to the seventh again, helping the Mets beat the Washington Nationals 4-2.

The sight of a creature drew gasps from some spectators, cheers from others, in an announced crowd of 21,955 at Nationals Park, where fans were encouraged to bring their dogs to the game.

“The rat was lucky it was Pups in the Park tonight and not Cat-urday!” team spokeswoman Jennifer Mastin Giglio joked in a text message.

The episode brought to mind one from a year ago — May 8, 2021, to be exact — involving a Mets club on the way to a disappointing 77-85 finish: Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil got into an argument during a game after they combined to flub a grounder. Soon after, Mets players rushed into the tunnel near the dugout.

Here was Lindor’s explanation that day: “I was like, ‘I’ve never seen a New York rat.’ So we went down, sprinting. I wanted to go see a New York rat, and (McNeil) got mad at me and was like, ’It’s not a rat, it’s a racoon.’”

Hmmmm. Regardless, this time, there was no doubt what was going on during an eventful half-inning, which began with the last-place Nationals ahead 2-0 thanks to Maikel Franco’s RBI double — McNeil’s relay throw easily beat Yadiel Hernandez home as he tried to score from first — in the fourth, and Riley Adams’ solo shot in the fifth.

That was all Carrasco (3-1) gave up in 6 2/3 innings; he began the day as the only pitcher in the majors who had gone more than seven innings in at least two starts.

In the sixth, once Nationals starter Patrick Corbin had been replaced by new call-up Carl Edwards Jr., New York broke through, showing why it is now 21-10.

The Mets loaded the bases off Edwards (0-1) with two singles and a walk, and Jeff McNeil drove in a pair of runs by ripping a ball that ricocheted off first baseman Josh Bell and down the right-field line.

McCann’s sacrifice fly made it 3-2 and elicited “Let’s go, Mets!” chants from their fans in the stands. After Lindor made a terrific diving stop and throw to get Franco on a grounder in the seventh, the Mets added an unearned insurance run in the eighth, and Edwin Díaz pithed the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.

CORBIN’S DAY

In his best outing of 2022 for Washington, which fell to 10-21, Corbin threw five scoreless innings, working around three hits and four walks. The righty with the six-year, $140 million contract entered Tuesday with a 7.16 ERA and a record of 0-5 and had allowed at least two earned runs in each of his previous six starts.

CALLING UP CARL

The Nationals selected the contract of Edwards from Triple-A Rochester and optioned Andres Machado there in a swap of right-handed relievers. The 30-year-old Edwards was 1–0 with three saves and a 0.63 ERA in 13 games at Rochester this season. Machado had a 2.45 ERA in 10 games with Washington.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: RHP Sean Reid-Foley will have Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. He went on the IL on May 1 with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm. … RHP Jacob deGrom (right shoulder blade) was transferred to the 60-day IL. He went on the 10-day IL on opening day, has started throwing from 60 feet on flat ground and is due for more tests in about a week. The move made room on the 40-man roster for LHP Locke St. John, who was waived by the Cubs.

Nationals: RHP Mason Thompson (right biceps strain, went from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Tylor Megill (4-1, 2.43 ERA) faces Nationals RHP Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 8.56). Megill is coming off his first loss of the season after allowing three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings against Atlanta on May 4. He threw five scoreless innings and earned the win in New York’s 5-1 victory over Washington on opening day.

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