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Max Scherzer exits with ‘left side fatigue’ in Mets’ loss

The Mets lost Max Scherzer, then they lost a game.

After Scherzer left with “fatigue on his left side” following the fifth inning and with the score tied, the Mets lost to the Nationals 7-1 on Saturday night at Citi Field.

While the Mets were left holding their collective breath over Scherzer’s status — he threw just 67 pitches before pulling himself with the score 1-1 — their three-game winning streak was snapped in front of 33,509.

The Mets’ bullpen kept the 1-1 tie intact until the eighth inning, when Lane Thomas cracked a solo home run off Adam Ottavino for a 2-1 Washington lead. Entering Saturday, Ottavino had allowed just two earned runs across 18 innings since the All-Star break.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mets threatened against Nationals reliever Carl Edwards Jr. After Eduardo Escobar led off with a walk, he was erased at second on a fielder’s choice by Brandon Nimmo. Starling Marte followed with an infield single that put runners on first and second with two outs.

Max Scherzer, who exited the game with "left side fatigue" in the fifth inning, watches a fly out to center field during the second inning of the Mets' 7-1 loss to the Nationals.
Max Scherzer, who exited the game with “left side fatigue” in the fifth inning, watches a fly out to center field during the second inning of the Mets’ 7-1 loss to the Nationals.
N.Y. Post: Michelle Farsi

But Francisco Lindor could not take advantage, popping out to shortstop to end the frame.

The Nationals then broke the game open in the ninth inning against reliever Adonis Medina, when they scored five runs on five hits, a walk and an error. The right-hander faced seven hitters and recorded just one out before being replaced by Bryce Montes de Oca, who made his MLB debut after being called up earlier in the day. Montes de Oca allowed a single and a walk, but got the final two outs (including a strikeout) to leave the bases loaded.

It was a much quieter night for the Mets’ offense, which for a change could not crack Patrick Corbin. The Nationals southpaw entered the night with a 6.56 ERA on the season — though he had pitched better in his past two starts — including a 6.62 ERA (13 earned runs on 27 hits across 17 ²/₃ innings) in four starts against the Mets.

Atlanta's Alex Call scores a run in the eighth inning of the Mets' loss.
Atlanta’s Alex Call scores a run in the eighth inning of the Mets’ loss.

But on Saturday, the Mets could barely touch Corbin. He gave up just one run — on an Escobar solo home run in the third inning — three hits and one walk across seven strong innings.

Luis Garcia put the Nationals ahead 1-0 in the first inning, when he turned on Scherzer’s 94 mph fastball and crushed it 411 feet to right field.

After James McCann threw out an attempted base stealer in the second inning, the Mets used a heads-up play to get Scherzer out of a jam in the third. With one out and runners on first and second, Garcia hit a check-swing flair to shortstop. Lindor looked ready to catch the ball before letting it fall. Lindor flipped to second base for the force out before Jeff McNeil fired to third to get CJ Abrams, who got a late break, for the double play.

The Mets then tied it in the bottom of the third when Escobar homered for the second straight game. He did so as a right-handed hitter against the left-handed Corbin, a night after going deep as a left-handed hitter against righty Josiah Gray.

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