Mets bully their way past nationals for another series win

WASHINGTON — Taijuan Walker straddled Juan Soto after tagging him out in a collision at third base that the Washington Nationals hitter ...


WASHINGTON — Taijuan Walker straddled Juan Soto after tagging him out in a collision at third base that the Washington Nationals hitter deemed more hard than necessary.

Walker and the Mets punish the NL East.

Walker threw seven hassle-free, scoreless fly ball innings, and the Mets went undefeated in 10 series this season, outscoring the sloppy Nationals, 4-1, on Thursday.

Walker, a burly right-hander, tagged Soto at third after the Nationals’ leading hitter gambled on an elementary base run, getting into a rundown after Josh Bell hit a grounder down the left side. Soto slid into Walker’s forearm yards in front of the sack and pleaded for an obstruction call, but Walker already had the ball when Soto arrived.

“It was unexpected. I got a little mad because it was kind of run down and I didn’t think he was going to creep into me,” Walker said. “Smart play I guess, the guy was going second, but at the time I wasn’t too happy about it.”

After tagging Soto, Walker threw wildly to second base, and right fielder Starling Marte returned to third to nail Bell and end the Nationals’ best rallying chance.

“Things like that, when we’re late like that, aren’t good baseline decisions,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “We have to make better decisions.”

Mark Canha went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs for the first-place Mets, who took two of three from the last-place Nationals. The Mets have won nine series and split one, and haven’t lost two straight games in a month.

“We have a hitter of the day. We award the prize when we arrive,” Canha said. “Today was me, and then the cool thing about this team is that I feel like I’m pretty sure all of our hitters have won the award at some point. this year…. Somebody’s always the hero, and that’s been the coolest part of this year.

Walker (1-0) allowed three hits, walked one and threw 85 pitches in the longest of his four starts this season, which was cut short by a stint on the disabled list with bursitis in the right shoulder.

Seth Lugo struck out two in the eighth and Edwin Díaz allowed Soto’s two-out homer in the ninth before pulling Bell out to complete the four hits.

Soto said he was at fault on the scruffy play, which came after opening the fourth inning with a double off the wall to center right.

“I was just caught in the middle of nothing,” he said. “I tried to slip. I didn’t try to hurt him or anything like that. It has to give me room to at least slide on the base.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Mets bully their way past nationals for another series win
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