NEW YORK (AP) — César Hernández hit his first homer in more than a year Sunday, delivering the exclamation point on the Washington Nationals’ 7-1 win over the New York Mets.
The last-place Nationals also beat the NL East leaders 7-1 on Saturday night, and took two of three in the series.
Luis García had an RBI single in the first inning, then the Nationals scored four unearned runs against Carlos Carrasco (13-6) in the third after second baseman Jeff McNeil’s error led to two-run singles by Keibert Ruiz and Ildemaro Vargas.
Carrasco, activated from the injured list prior to the game after missing more than two weeks due to a strained left oblique, was charged with one earned run in 2 2/3 innings.
Hernández, who had a career-high 21 homers last season, ended his drought by hitting a no-doubt, two-run shot into the right field seats in the fifth. The drive was his first since Aug. 26, 2021, a span of 155 games.
Upon finishing his home run trot, Hernández was given the silent treatment by teammates for several seconds before they finally mobbed him in the dugout.
Entering Sunday, only the Los Angeles Angels’ Magneuris Sierra (223 games) and the Cleveland Guardians’ Myles Straw (157 games) had gone longer without homering among active players.
Lane Thomas, who started at all three outfield spots this weekend, had two hits and drew a walk for the Nationals. He finished the series by reaching base in seven of his final nine appearances, a stretch that included five straight hits bridging Saturday and Sunday.
Erick Fedde (6-9) gave up one run — McNeil’s second-inning sacrifice fly — over six innings and earned his first win since June 21.
Trevor Williams relieved Carrasco and pitched 4 1/3 innings. The homer by Hernández snapped Williams’ scoreless streak — which dated back to July 7 and spanned eight appearances, including two starts — at 26 innings.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez said the club would employ a six-man rotation this week in order to get Patrick Corbin, who threw seven innings Saturday for the first time since July 4, an extra day of rest. Cory Abbott, who hasn’t started since Aug. 17, is scheduled to rejoin the rotation and start Wednesday. Abbott tossed the ninth inning Sunday.
The Mets honored retiring scout Jim Reeves by having him throw out the first pitch. Reeves, who is based in the Pacific Northwest and signed Wyoming-born outfielder Brandon Nimmo and Colorado-born pitcher David Peterson, threw the pitch to Peterson. Nimmo then bounded out of the dugout and hugged Reeves before the three posed for a picture near home plate.
Nationals: RHP Víctor Arano (right shoulder strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Friday. RHP Andrés Machado was recalled from Triple-A Rochester. … DH Nelson Cruz (right knee contusion) missed a second straight game.
Mets: RHP Max Scherzer (left side fatigue) said he felt fine a day after exiting after five innings and 67 pitches. Scherzer, whose next start is scheduled for Friday, missed almost seven weeks earlier this season with a left oblique injury. On Sunday morning, he chuckled and said the fatigue was everywhere on his left side except the oblique. … INF Luis Guillorme (left groin) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday. … To make room for Carrasco on the active roster, the Mets optioned RHP Adonis Medina to Triple-A Syracuse.
Nationals: A 10-game road trip continues as RHP Anibal Sanchez (1-5, 5.05 ERA), fresh off earning his first win Wednesday, starts the opener of a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Sanchez last pitched at Busch Stadium Oct. 11, 2019, when he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series.
Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker (10-3, 3.45 ERA) starts Monday afternoon in the first game of a three-game series at the Pittsburgh Pirates. Walker hasn’t received a decision in any of his last three starts.