MLB: Mets optimistic after opener against Nationals

The New York Mets haven’t solved all of their woes, but perhaps one single can get them feeling better about how things could be going.

Following a tight victory over the Nationals in the series opener on Friday, the Mets will look to build on the momentum as the four-game set continues on Saturday in Washington.

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The Mets have been sluggish on offense, but they used Francisco Lindor’s three-run, two-out single in the sixth inning to pull out a 3-2 win on Friday.

“It felt good,” Lindor said. “I was feeding off my teammates. Hats off to them. Hopefully, we can carry that on.”

The hit pushed Lindor’s RBI total to 30 for the season, one behind Pete Alonso’s team-leading figure.

“Everything Francisco does is about what the team needs, not what he needs individually,” New York manager Buck Showalter said. “There’s not a more team-oriented guy than him, even that I’ve had. Everything is about the team.”

Lindor is giving the Mets a boost, and they need others to join him in terms of production.

“He has been solid for us,” Showalter said.

New York has won just four of its past 13 games. The Nationals, meanwhile, returned home from a West Coast swing having won three of the past four games before the series opener went sour with one swing of the bat.

“Close games like that, one pitch makes a difference,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. “One play makes a difference.”

So the Nationals will try to recover with right-hander Trevor Williams (1-1, 4.25 ERA) taking the ball on Saturday. Williams will bid to get back on track after his shortest outing of the season, when he gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings on Sunday at Arizona.

Williams is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in six career starts vs. the Mets, averaging six innings in those games. Alonso, the major league homer leader with 13, is 2-for-10 with one long ball in his career vs. Williams, who has been dinged for six home runs in 36 innings this season.

Even with an off day Thursday, the Nationals will be counting on Williams after their Friday night starter, MacKenzie Gore, made it through only four innings.

“Your starting pitcher goes four innings, that’s tough,” Martinez said.

The Mets turn to left-hander Joey Lucchesi (1-0, 4.43) on Saturday. He hasn’t had a decision since his first start of the season on April 21, and hasn’t lasted more than four innings in either of his two starts this month.

Lucchesi has started five games against the Nationals in his career, going 1-0 record and 4.38 ERA. He has surrendered five home runs in 24 2/3 innings vs. Washington.

New York is trying to hold things together in the bullpen without Edwin Diaz, who might miss the whole season due to a torn right patellar tendon. Four relievers combined for four scoreless, hitless innings on Friday, with Drew Smith getting the final out with two runners on base to earn his first career save.

“We’re piecing it together and we’ve got a good group right now,” Smith said.

The Nationals had third baseman Jeimer Candelario in the lineup on Friday two days after he jammed his right ankle while sliding into second base at San Francisco. Candelario has a team-leading 12 extra-base hits.

“It was kind of sore, but he says he feels good,” Martinez said.

–Field Level Media

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