NEW YORK — Luis Guillorme picked a perfect time for his first big league homer — a tying shot leading off the eighth — J.D. Davis added a go-ahead sacrifice fly and the New York Mets worked their magic again, beating the Washington Nationals 4-3 Saturday night for their eighth straight victory.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 10: J.D. Davis #28 of the New York Mets reacts after his eighth inning run scoring sacrifice fly against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The Mets have won 15 of 16 and are on their best roll since a 16-1 run in 1990. They pulled within a half-game of Washington for the first NL wild card and will try for a three-game sweep Sunday.
Juan Soto put Washington ahead 3-2 with his second home run of the game in the eighth inning, but Guillorme — a backup infielder — countered against Fernando Rodney with his first connection in the bottom of the inning. Guillorme entered with a .192 average in 56 major league games.
After two more Mets reached against Rodney (0-5), Daniel Hudson relieved. He got one out, intentionally walked slugger Pete Alonso, and then Davis hit a drive to deep right field that brought in newcomer Joe Panik for the tiebreaking run.
Wilson Ramos, celebrating his 32nd birthday, hit a two-out drive to right-center, but Victor Robles made a leaping catch against the wall to end the inning.
It was the second consecutive blown save for Washington’s bullpen. Closer Sean Doolittle allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a 7-6 loss Friday night.
Soto hit a two-run drive in the first inning against Noah Syndergaard, and the 2-0 lead held until Davis and Ramos put fervor into Flushing with consecutive solo shots off Patrick Corbin in the fourth.
Soto struck again in the eighth against Seth Lugo (5-2), ending the reliever’s string of 14 consecutive scoreless appearances. Lugo got two outs to tie the Mets record with 26 consecutive batters retired before Soto hit a no-doubter to right field.
Soto has 24 homers this season, and the 20-year-old already has four career multihomer games.
Lugo also pitched the ninth as All-Star closer Edwin Díaz warmed in the bullpen.
With the Mets making an improbable charge for a playoff spot, fans lined up outside Citi Field five hours before first pitch and many stood and clapped for lineup introductions as if it were opening day. Soto’s first-inning drive quickly quieted things down.
Davis and Ramos brought fans back to their feet in the fourth. Davis has four homers in his past seven games, and five of his 14 connections this season have been against the Nationals. Ramos’ shot was his 13th and came on his 32nd birthday.
New York has hit multiple homers in eight consecutive games, breaking a franchise record previously set this June. Corbin had allowed just two homers over his previous eight starts combined, and he had given up 0.79 homers per nine innings since the start of 2018 — trailing only Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom among major league starters.
Corbin only allowed one other hit — a single by Michael Conforto — and struck out eight over six innings.
Syndergaard, pitching to Ramos for the first time since June 15, threw seven innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts and seven hits allowed. He faced one over the minimum in his final four innings, and he completed seven for the sixth straight outing.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (mild strain in upper back) threw a 36-pitch bullpen at nearly full effort and came out feeling well. The club will evaluate him Sunday before laying out a next step, but manager Dave Martinez said Scherzer will likely throw at least one more bullpen before getting into a game.
Mets: OF Tim Tebow is expected to miss the rest of the minor league season due to a cut on his left hand. The 31-year-old hit .163 in 77 games during his first season with Triple-A Syracuse but hasn’t played since July 21 after injuring himself fielding a ball in the outfield. The laceration required several stitches. Syracuse’s regular season ends Sept. 2.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom (7-7, 2.77) is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his past six starts. He’ll try to stay hot against National RHP Aníbal Sanchez (7-6, 3.67) in Sunday’s series finale.