Lindor forces balk, hits 2-run double, Mets beat Nationals

The Mets took two of three and won a series for the first time since sweeping the Nationals in a three-game set Aug. 10-12.

Josh Bell hit two home runs for Washington and Juan Soto also connected. Those were the only three hits for the Nationals in the game.

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Lindor set the tone for the Mets by dancing off third base in the first inning and forcing a balk by Erick Fedde (6-9). It was the first balk of the season for Washington and the first time the Mets have scored via a balk since March 30, 2019, also against the Nationals.

Báez put the Mets ahead for good with a 444-foot homer, a two-run drive in the fourth that made it 3-2. Villar hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and also tripled and singled. He scored three times.

Pete Alonso had an RBI single among his three hits and Dominic Smith delivered a run-scoring, pinch-hit single. Brandon Nimmo walked twice and was hit by a pitch twice in five plate appearances.

Tylor Megill (2-3) allowed two runs on one hit — a fourth-inning, two-run homer by Bell — and walked three with five strikeouts over five innings. Four Mets relievers threw an inning apiece to complete the three-hitter.

Soto homered off Aaron Loup leading off the sixth — the first homer surrendered by the Mets lefty to a a left-handed hitter since Corey Dickerson for Tampa Bay on June 13, 2017.

Bell connected again in the eighth. The two-homer game was the first of the season for Bell and the sixth of his career.

Washington’s Alcides Escobar went 0 for 4 as his 10-game hitting streak ended.

Fedde allowed five earned runs on eight hits and one walk with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

RUIZ TIME

The Nationals announced they will recall catcher Keibert Ruiz, who became their top prospect upon being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in last month’s Max Scherzer-Trea Turner blockbuster trade, prior to Monday night’s home game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ruiz, 23, hit .308 with five homers and 14 RBIs for Triple-A Rochester.

“We feel like he’s ready to come up and get an opportunity to play up here and watch him play,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “We’re all excited about it. He’s part of our future here.”

Martinez didn’t rule out the possibility the Nationals could keep three catchers — Tres Barrera and Riley Adams are on the active roster and veteran Alex Avila is rehabbing an injury — but said Ruiz would get the bulk of the time behind the plate.

“We’ll see how this is all going to work out, but we want to give him an opportunity to play,” Martinez said. “We’re going to play him as much as we can.”

TRIPLE THE FUN

Villar’s triple in the fifth was the Mets’ second of the series and their third in the last 13 games. New York went a major league-record 68 games without a triple prior to Alonso’s three-bagger on Aug. 16.

The Mets have nine triples this season. The team record for fewest triples in a full season is 14, set by the 1999 squad.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: C Tomas Nido (left thumb) missed a second straight game, leaving Patrick Mazeika as the Mets’ lone healthy catcher. Mazeika was tended to by trainers after taking a foul ball off his knee in the eighth but stayed in the game.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Josiah Gray (0-1, 3.75 ERA), acquired with Ruiz from the Dodgers, will throw to him Monday when he makes his sixth start for Washington in the opener of a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Mets: The club has not yet announced starters for Tuesday’s unusual setup against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. The teams will complete a nine-inning game that was suspended after just one out on April 11. Then they’ll play a seven-inning game at night.

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