After holding on for thrilling win, Mets oppose Nats again

The second half of the season for the New York Mets began in a familiarly chaotic fashion Monday night, but they still came away victorious in their 82nd game of the year.

The Mets will look to climb over .500 Tuesday night, when they visit the Washington Nationals in the second game of a four-game series.

Sean Manaea (5-3, 3.89 ERA) is slated to start for the Mets against fellow left-hander DJ Herz (1-2, 5.48).

J.D. Martinez hit the tiebreaking three-run homer in the 10th inning Monday night for the Mets, who scored six runs before withstanding a furious rally by the Nationals to earn a 9-7 victory.

The extra-inning game was the 12th of the season for the Mets, which ties them with the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies for the most such games.

The six-run 10th inning tied the franchise record for most runs scored in the 10th inning or later, set first in the 11th inning against the Chicago Cubs on June 30, 1979, and matched in the 10th inning against the Houston Astros on Aug. 1, 2001.

The Mets almost squandered the lead in the bottom of the 10th on Monday, when the Nationals sent the winning run to the plate before Reed Garrett struck out Luis Garcia Jr. to earn his fourth save.

“A win is a win, right?” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said with a grin postgame.

The bottom line has been better lately for New York, which has endured a roller-coaster season. The Mets were as many as 11 games under .500 twice but have gone 17-6 since June 3 to climb back to .500 at 41-41. They inched over the break-even mark with a 7-2 win over the Astros on Friday before dropping the final two games of the three-game series.

The Nationals came within inches of extending the Mets’ losing streak in the bottom of the ninth Monday night. Top prospect James Wood, who was called up from Triple-A Rochester earlier in the day, raced to second base when pitcher Jake Diekman committed a throwing error after fielding Wood’s leadoff dribbler to the third base side of the mound.

Keibert Ruiz then grounded out to third, leaving Wood at second base. Wood advanced to third on a groundout to first by Garcia but was stranded there when right fielder Tyrone Taylor made a lunging catch of Jacob Young’s liner to right.

“One, we’ve got to try to get that guy over,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “And we’ve got to try to get the ball in the air. We had three shots to drive him in. We just couldn’t do it.”

The inability to get Wood home — and the last-ditch rally in the 10th, when Jesse Winker (double) Ildemaro Vargas (two-run double) and Ruiz (single) each drove in runs — symbolizes the all-or-nothing nature of the Nationals in 28 games since June 1. Washington has scored three runs or fewer 13 times in that span — the same number of times it has scored five runs or more.

Manaea earned the win in his most recent start Wednesday, when he allowed two hits over five scoreless innings as the Mets beat the New York Yankees 12-2. He is 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Nationals.

Herz took the loss Wednesday after giving up four runs over 3 1/3 innings as the Nationals fell to the San Diego Padres 8-5. In his only start against the Mets, the rookie lost in his major league debut June 4, when he surrendered four runs over four-plus innings in New York’s 6-3 victory.

–Field Level Media