Since Jacob deGrom’s Cy Young run began in 2018, the Mets have gone 31-37 in games he’s pitched. They know how inconsequential a day’s starter can ultimately be.
Revealing hours before Wednesday’s game against the Nationals that Robert Gsellman would make his first start in nearly three years, the Mets watched the right-hander surrender the game’s first three runs and be limited to two innings on the mound, only for six relievers and a bevy of bats combined to clobber the reigning champs and end a two-game slide with an 11-6 win at Citi Field.
Most importantly, Pete Alonso showed signs of breaking out of his sophomore slump, blasting his third home run of the season and a pair of doubles, with three RBIs, three runs and a walk. Dominic Smith, who combined with Alonso for the team’s first back-to-back homers in a game-sealing, five-run sixth inning, also collected his third home run and three RBIs. Brandon Nimmo aided the offensive explosions with his third homer of the season, while finishing 3-for-5.
Filling in for the injured Michael Wacha, Gsellman — who was scheduled to throw no more than 60 pitches — gave Luis Rojas reason to second-guess his decision instantly. Trea Turner opened the game with a double. Adam Eaton followed with a single. Two batters later, Juan Soto — who hit a career-long 463-foot homer Monday in Queens — hit a towering shot to right that threatened to leave the building, before settling in the upper deck in right field, 466 feet from home. Soto’s two home runs are longer than any home run hit by a Mets player at Citi Field since the 2015 introduction of Statcast.
Struggling Washington starter Anibal Sanchez (0-3) quickly allowed the Mets to climb back. Nimmo hit his fifth career leadoff home run, extending his on-base streak to 33 straight games, which is tied for the fifth-longest streak in team history. After Michael Conforto was hit by a pitch, Alonso brought him home with a double to right center. Smith followed with an RBI double, then scored on Andres Gimenez’s single to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.
In the Mets’ first 18 games of the season, they had scored a total of two first-inning runs.
The scoreboard remained relatively quiet until Soto, 21, unleashed the swing set to terrorize the Mets for the next decade or more. Closing the Mets lead to 5-4, Soto delivered his fourth homer of the year off of lefty Justin Wilson to open the sixth inning.
Even after Luis Guillorme and Nimmo reached base to open the bottom of the sixth, the Mets — who entered ranked 29th in the majors by hitting .208 with runners in scoring position — nearly blew another opportunity.
This time, though, Conforto quelled his fans’ nerves with a two-run double over Eaton’s outstretched glove in right field. Alonso followed with a two-run homer to left. Then, Smith went deep, too.