Mets blank Nationals again 5-0 to finish perfect homestand

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK – Tomas Nido went 4 for 4 with three RBIs at the bottom of the batting order, Carlos Carrasco combined with three relievers on New York’s second consecutive shutout and the Mets beat the Washington Nationals 5-0 Wednesday to finish a perfect homestand.

Francisco Lindor extended his RBI streak to 10 games, matching Hall of Famer Mike Piazza for the second-longest in franchise history. New York went 6-0 against NL East rivals Philadelphia and Washington for its first undefeated homestand of six or more games since a 10-0 run in April 2015.

On deck, a much stiffer challenge.

The first-place Mets, riding their longest winning streak of the season, now head to California for a 10-game trip against the Dodgers, Padres and Angels that starts Thursday night.

New York (35-17) is 18 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2015 regular season 90-72 on the way to its last World Series appearance. The Mets began the day with a 10 1/2-game lead in the NL East, tied with the 1971 San Francisco Giants for the largest in National League history entering June.

Nido had an RBI single in the fourth inning, and another run scored on the play when center fielder Dee Strange-Gordon fumbled the ball for an error. Lindor hit a sacrifice fly that scored Nido in the seventh, and the light-hitting catcher added a two-run double in the eighth.

Nationals left-hander Evan Lee (0-1) lasted 3 2/3 innings in his big league debut after getting called up from Double-A Harrisburg. He allowed two runs and four hits.

Carrasco (6-1) matched his career high with five walks and pitched out of trouble all afternoon against the last-place Nationals. He needed 95 pitches to get through five innings but stranded eight runners.

Seth Lugo gave up one hit over two innings before Adam Ottavino and Edwin Diaz finished a six-hitter on the 10th anniversary of Johan Santana’s no-hitter – the first in Mets history.

It was New York’s ninth shutout this season, most in the majors, and it followed a 10-0 whitewash of Washington on Tuesday night. The Mets are 13-2-1 in series this year – though their only two sweeps came on this homestand. The six-game winning streak marks their longest of the year.

STAYING PUT

In a radio interview, Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo said the team will not trade Juan Soto, its star right fielder. Rizzo told The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan that Washington plans to build around the 23-year-old slugger, who can become a free agent following the 2024 season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: Veteran SS Alcides Escobar was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hamstring after getting hurt Tuesday night making a diving stop. Washington recalled 22-year-old Luis Garcia from Triple-A Rochester and plans to play him every day at shortstop while he’s in the big leagues. What that means for Escobar’s future with the rebuilding Nationals is uncertain. Manager Dave Martinez said that will be a conversation for when Escobar gets healthy. Garcia, who played in 110 major league games over the past two seasons, went 1 for 4 with three strikeouts. … Cruz was back in the lineup at DH after sitting out Tuesday night with a bruised left ankle.

Mets: CF Brandon Nimmo returned to the leadoff spot after missing four straight starts with a sore right wrist. … The next step for RHP Tylor Megill (biceps inflammation) is probably a minor league rehab outing, and he might need just one or two before rejoining the rotation. Megill threw a simulated game Tuesday. … C James McCann had his stitches removed following surgery for a broken left hamate.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Rookie RHP Joan Adon (1-8, 6.08 ERA), tied with teammate Patrick Corbin for the major league lead in losses, pitches Thursday night at Cincinnati in a matchup between the two worst teams in the National League. Rookie RHP Graham Ashcraft (1-0, 1.69) makes his third major league start for the Reds in the opener of a four-game series. Adon lost six straight outings before taking a no-decision last time out against Colorado, when he didn’t allow an earned run in six encouraging innings.

Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker (3-0, 2.83) gets the ball Thursday night against RHP Tony Gonsolin (5-0, 1.80) and the Dodgers in the opener of a four-game set between the NL’s top two teams.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.