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Conforto’s bases-loaded triple helps Mets beat Nationals 8-6

September 23, 2018
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New York Mets' Amed Rosario is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — At the end of a long, cold, wet afternoon, the New York Mets managed a split of their final road trip of the season.

Michael Conforto hit a go-ahead, bases-loaded triple, rookie Jeff McNeil matched a career high with four hits and the Mets beat the Washington Nationals 8-6 on Sunday.

The first pitch was delayed 25 minutes, and rain continued during the game, which lasted 4 hours, 14 minutes — the longest nine-inning contest this season for both teams. Washington’s grounds crew tended to the infield between innings throughout the day.

The Mets finished their road slate at 40-41, better than their 33-42 mark at home, where they have six games left. New York took three of four from the Nationals in the teams’ final series of the season, and went 5-5 on its trip to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.

“It was nice to come in here and be able to do what we did to kind of even up the road trip,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We played some good teams on the road trip and I think our guys have done a good job of continuing to fight all year, whether it’s the season or a road trip, or whatever. You don’t always see that, so I’m really proud of that from them.”

Washington, which fell to .500 (78-78) a day after it was eliminated from playoff contention, scored three runs in the eighth and got the tying man into scoring position with two outs before Juan Soto fouled out.

“Today was a tough game to mentally get in, get ready to play with the rain, the delay. It’s pretty cold for the first time in a long time,” shortstop Trea Turner said. “Wasn’t fun conditions, but I felt like we battled.”

The Nationals led 3-1 before New York rallied in the fourth. Wander Suero (3-1) entered with one out and two on and issued a walk before McNeil singled in a run.

Conforto then poked a shot to left-center past a diving Michael A. Taylor to clear the bases and make it 5-3. Suero surrendered two more runs in the fifth when Kevin Plawecki delivered an RBI double and scored on Amed Rosario’s infield single.

Drew Gagnon (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the Mets. Anthony Swarzak recorded the final five outs for his fourth save in five tries.

New York starter Steven Matz allowed three runs in three innings. Washington’s Erick Fedde surrendered three runs in 3 1/3 innings.

McNeil improved his batting average to .328 in 195 at-bats since his big league debut on July 24.

“It’s awesome to come up here and have instant success,” McNeil said. “I’m going to try to finish strong.”

Rookie Victor Robles homered, tripled and drove in three for Washington.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: Callaway said the team still plans to activate 3B David Wright from the disabled list before Tuesday’s game against Atlanta. Wright, who has not played for the Mets since May 2016 because of neck, back and shoulder injuries, is scheduled to start Saturday against Miami in what will likely be his final appearance in the big leagues. However, he could also make an earlier appearance. “I wouldn’t mind getting him in there and getting him a pinch-hit at bat when it makes sense in the Braves series,” Callaway said.

RECORD SWIPE

Turner stole second base in the third to set the Nationals’ career record with 123. The previous steals leader since the club moved to Washington in 2005 was Ian Desmond’s 122 from 2009 to 2015. Turner’s 42 steals this season lead the majors.

“I think any time a record is within reach I think it’s always cool to be mentioned along with it or beat one or kind of set your own,” Turner said.

UP NEXT

Mets: New York has Monday off. RHP Noah Syndergaard (12-4, 3.36 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday against Atlanta.

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.83 ERA), who is 17-7 with a 3.04 ERA in 30 career starts against Miami, gets the nod as Washington opens its final home series of the season Monday against the Marlins.

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