WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Injuries have been more of a Yankee problem in the early months of 2019, but on Thursday, the “injury bug” struck the Mets in a big way. Now the team may be forced to compete in the fierce NL East without two of their biggest offensive weapons for a short time.
Both Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil were forced out of New York’s series finale with Washington due to injury.
Gerardo Parra hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the fifth and Sean Doolittle stopped the Mets’ ninth-inning rally by striking out Keon Broxton with the bases loaded, giving the Nationals a 7-6 win.
Conforto hit a tying, three-run homer in the third inning but left with a concussion in the fifth colliding with second baseman Robinson Canó’s shoulder while chasing Howie Kendrick’s popup down the right-field line. Rather than fly with the Mets to Miami, Conforto planned to take a train back to New York.
“I called it right away. He called it really late,” Canó said. “It could have been something worse. Hopefully, he’s good tomorrow.”
Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil left in the third because of abdominal tightness.
Washington won two of three against the Mets for its first series win since April 16-18 against San Francisco. The Nationals, just 18-25, lost six straight series before splitting four games with the Los Angeles Dodgers last weekend.
New York dropped to 20-22 and is 0-5 in the finales of three-game series after splitting the first two games.
Mets starter Zack Wheeler (3-3) allowed six runs and a career-high 11 hits in six innings, raising his ERA to 4.85. Washington had five hits and two walks — one intentional — in a four-run first that included RBI doubles by Parra and Kurt Suzuki.
Parra was a triple short of the cycle and his home run put Washington ahead 6-4. Suzuki added an RBI single in the seventh off Robert Gsellman that drove in Parra, who had walked against Daniel Zamora.
Wilson Ramos and Juan Lagares hit run-scoring singles with one out in the ninth off Doolittle. Dominic Smith hit an infield popup and Canó reached on an infield hit that loaded the bases. Broxton swung through a 2-2 fastball, dropping his average to .143 and giving Doolittle his seventh save in eight chances.
Dan Jennings (1-2) struck out two in a perfect fifth to win in relief of Aníbal Sánchez, who left after 1 1/3 innings because of left hamstring soreness.
Conforto homered off Erick Fedde. Parra’s homer was his second in 18 plate appearances since signing with the Nationals on May 9. He has seven RBIs in five games with Washington. Wheeler had not allowed a home run in his previous 32 1/3 innings.
Mets LHP Jason Vargas (left hamstring tightness) is to make an injury rehabilitation start on Sunday for Double-A Binghamton.
LHP Steven Matz (forearm irritation) said he felt good after a 45-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday and is ready to return.
Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (3-4, 3.26) starts the opener of a three-game series at Miami. He is 6-6 with a 3.24 ERA in 18 starts versus the Marlins.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)