WASHINGTON — Noah Syndergaard struck out 10 while allowing three hits over seven shutout innings, Jeff McNeil hit a two-run homer, and the New York Mets shrugged off a challenging travel turnaround to defeat the Washington Nationals 7-3 on Monday.
New York, which entered the day four games behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL’s second wild-card spot, played a holiday afternoon game about 15 hours after falling at Philadelphia on Sunday night.
The loss ended Washington’s four-game winning streak and denied the Nationals from moving 20 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Syndergaard (10-7) allowed a leadoff single to Trea Turner, then retired the next 16 batters in his first start since yielding a career-high 10 runs against the Cubs on Wednesday. It was Syndergaard’s third 10-strikeout performance of the season and the 17th of his career.
McNeil was mired in a career-worst 0-for-15 slump before sending Joe Ross’ two-out sinker into the seats in right-center field in the fourth inning. That ignited a five-run rally which included J.D. Davis’ two-run double to chase Ross (3-4) and Brandon Nimmo’s RBI double to greet reliever Austin Voth that made it 7-0.
New York took a 2-0 lead in the second on Joe Panik’s RBI double and Rene Rivera’s run-scoring single.
Ross allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. He surrendered three runs in 25 2/3 innings in five starts in August.
Washington avoided the shutout when former Met Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth off reliever Tyler Bashlor.
Mets: Nimmo (neck) made his first start since May 19 after spending more than three months on the injured list, but is not expected to immediately resume everyday duties. “We’re not exactly sure how much stress all the guys can take at this point,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “To bring Nimmo back and start him every day of the week would be pretty tough.”
Nationals: OF Adam Eaton (bruised knee) started for the first time since getting hit by a pitch Wednesday, but left after two innings for undisclosed reasons. Eaton lined out to right in his only at-bat.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (8-8, 2.66 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA in three starts against Washington this season, gets the nod.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.46) has a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 innings over two starts since returning from the injured list last month.