McNeil’s triple helps Mets recover to beat Nationals 9-8

NEW YORK (AP) — Jeff McNeil snapped an eighth-inning tie with an RBI triple and the New York Mets squandered a pair of multi-run leads before recovering to beat the Washington Nationals 9-8 on Thursday night.

The Mets led 4-1 and 7-3 before C.J. Abrams’ grand slam in the top of the eighth gave the Nationals an 8-7 lead. But Starling Marte led off the bottom half with a single against Mason Thompson (2-2).

Marte stole second, went to third on a fly out by Francisco Lindor and trotted home when Pete Alonso, the NL’s RBI leader, split the right-centerfield gap with a double.

McNeil, the reigning NL batting champion, then tripled off the right field wall.

“I hope everybody understands how hard that is to do, especially when you’re not sneaking up on anybody,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “They know that Pete can drive in a run. They know Jeff’s a good hitter. You get the best they have to offer. So when they can deliver that when all eyes are on them — that’s special to watch and you know you’re lucky to have them on your team.”

Brooks Raley (1-0) surrendered the grand slam by Abrams but earned the win after recording the three outs in the eighth, when Raley and Tommy Hunter combined to hit three batters before Abrams’ grand slam.

David Robertson notched his fifth save with a perfect ninth.

“You don’t see three hit by pitch(es) coming,” Showalter said. “That’s as good a win as we’ve had all year. There’s a lot of opportunities there for some people to say it just wasn’t our night, some things haven’t been going our way. But our guys kept finding a way.”

The Mets snapped a four-game losing streak, their longest since a five-game skid from Sept. 16-21, 2021.

“Shows a lot about this team,” said McNeil, who is batting .421 over his last 10 games to lift his average to .301. “To be able to come back — we took some big-time at-bats that inning.”

Lindor had two doubles and three RBIs, while Alonso had two RBI hits. His sixth-inning single snapped an 0-for-19 slump.

Rookie Brett Baty homered in the fourth and had his first three-hit game for the Mets, who scored nine runs during their losing streak. Mark Canha and Daniel Vogelbach also had RBIs.

Luis Garcia had a pair of RBIs while Alex Call homered for the Nationals, who were trying to sweep the Mets in a three-game series for the first time since April 2017.

“We played really, really well,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “We were down, we came back, C.J. with a big grand slam. But hey, they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.”

Mets starter Joey Lucchesi allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his second start of the year following his recovery from Tommy John surgery in June 2021. Nationals starter Trevor Williams surrendered four runs in five innings.


Lucchesi and Williams served up three fly outs apiece to the warning track in the first inning, which began in 55-degree temperatures.


Abrams became the first starting position player in Nationals/Montreal Expos history to hit a grand slam out of the No. 9 spot. Sean Berry and Chris Widger hit grand slams as pinch-hitters batting in the No. 9 spot for the Expos, as have Justin Maxwell and Mark Reynolds for the Nationals. Pitchers Scott Sanderson and Don Stanhouse each hit grand slams for the Expos.


Nationals: IF Ildemaro Vargas (right shoulder) is slated to begin a rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Rochester. … Manager Dave Martinez said OF Corey Dickerson (left calf) isn’t close to heading out on rehab.

Mets: RHP Justin Verlander (teres major strain) is scheduled to throw about four innings Friday afternoon for Double-A Binghamton. … RHP Carlos Carrasco (elbow) threw his first bullpen session Thursday since going on the injured list on April 18. … C Francisco Álvarez, who was twice hit in the head by Jeimer Candelario’s backswing, was replaced by Tomás Nido in the ninth inning. Showalter said it was a precautionary move with Álvarez, whom he hoped would be available for Friday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves.


Nationals: RHP Chad Kuhl (0-1, 7.36 ERA) will oppose one of his former teams when Washington returns home to open a homestand against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kuhl went 25-30 with a 4.44 ERA for the Pirates from 2016-21.

Mets: LHP David Peterson (1-3, 7.36 ERA) has allowed 21 runs — tied for the fourth-most in the NL — through five starts.

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