Max Scherzer got his first win, Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer and the Washington Nationals were helped by 12 walks in a 12-9 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.
Scherzer (1-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts, no walks and two hit batters, and he also singled in the game’s first run. He lost his opening two starts for the first time in his big league career, to the Mets and Philadelphia, though he did go 0-3 over his first six starts in 2009.
Washington took two of three from their NL East rival. The Nationals opened a 12-1 lead by the seventh inning, when Rendon hit his fourth home run of the season, a drive off the facing of the second deck in left-center. Kurt Suzuki had two hits and two RBIs. Aside from Scherzer, every Nationals starter walked at least once.
Zack Wheeler (0-1) struggled to command his fastball and gave up seven runs, four hits and a career-high seven walks in 4 2/3 innings, throwing strikes on just 51 of 103 pitches. Reliever Tim Peterson threw a run-scoring wild pitch to his first batter and walked five, including one with the bases loaded. Mets pitchers had not walked 12 in a nine-inning game since March 31, 2003, on opening day against the Chicago Cubs.
Washington took a 5-0 lead in the second, which included Victor Robles’ RBI single, Adam Eaton’s two-run double and Howie Kendrick’s sacrifice fly, his first RBI since May 13. Kendrick returned Saturday from a ruptured right Achilles’ tendon sustained last May 19.
Mired in a 2-for-27 slump, Brandon Nimmo doubled in a run off of Scherzer in the seventh. Rookie Pete Alonso hit a three-run homer against Matt Grace later in the inning, the rookie’s third home run this season.
Nationals reliever Trevor Rosenthal hit a batter, threw two wild pitches and issued a walk in the eighth. Attempting to come back from Tommy John surgery, the former All-Star closer has not retired any of the nine batters he’s faced this season, allowing seven runs.
Washington recalled RHP Joe Ross from Triple-A Fresno and optioned INF Adrián Sanchez to Double-A Harrisburg. Usually a starter, Ross got just one out in the ninth before giving up Michael Conforto’s three-run homer. According to manager Dave Martinez, Ross will be used in relief to aid an ineffective bullpen that had a major league-worst 10.02 ERA entering Sunday.
Nationals: CF Michael A. Taylor (sprained right knee and hip) went 1 for 5 Sunday for Harrisburg as the designated hitter.
Mets: C Travis d’Arnaud (Tommy John surgery) was reinstated from the 10-day IL, pinch hit in the seventh and moved behind the plate in his first major league appearance since April 8 last year. He grounded out and flied out.
Nationals: RHP Aníbal Sánchez (0-0, 9.00 ERA) faces RHP Vince Velasquez (0-0, 0.00) Monday night as Washington opens a three-game series at Philadelphia.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (2-0), who has not allowed a run in 13 innings this season, is scheduled to start Tuesday’s series opener against Minnesota and RHP Kyle Gibson (0-0, 9.64).