NEW YORK — Joe Ross rebounded from the worst outing of his career by pitching six solid innings and helping himself with an RBI single as the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 7-1 on Saturday.
Ross allowed five hits and one walk while striking out four. He gave up 10 runs in 4 1/3 innings against St. Louis on Monday.
The 27-year-old right-hander, who opted out last season due to coronavirus concerns, said it was easier to recover from the poor performance because of how he fared in his first two starts, when he tossed 11 scoreless innings against the Cardinals and Dodgers.
“I think starting off well probably made it a little bit easier,” Ross said. “Also, it’s one game. One not great game, can kind of shake that off. If it’s two or three in a row, it might be different.”
Michael Conforto homered for the Mets in the fourth. New York threatened after Conforto’s shot off the right-field foul pole, but after giving up infield singles to J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil, Ross came back from a 3-1 count to get James McCann to line out.
The scuffling Mets got just one more runner into scoring position against Ross (2-1) and a trio of relievers.
“Our biggest thing has been hitting with runners in scoring position,” manager Luis Rojas said of the Mets, who are batting .190 in such situations. “It just hasn’t happened enough.”
Yadiel Hernandez, a 33-year-old rookie who entered with six hits in 36 career at-bats, had two hits and two RBIs for the Nationals. Six starters had an RBI and seven players got a hit for Washington, which finished with 10 singles and no extra-base hits but drew five walks and a hit by pitch.
“Any time you’ve got people on base, you’re putting pressure on the other side,” second baseman Josh Harrison said.
The Nationals, blanked on two hits Friday night by Mets ace Jacob deGrom, built four mini-rallies in four innings against Marcus Stroman (3-1). Harrison led off the first with a single to right and raced to third when the ball skipped by Conforto for an error. Harrison scored on Hernandez’s sacrifice fly.
Stroman issued a pair of one-out walks in the second before Ross delivered his two-out RBI hit. The throw from Conforto beat Starlin Castro to the plate but was wide of McCann.
It was the third hit of the season for Ross, who was 2 for 24 at the plate from 2018-19.
“I’ll see if I can keep this up all year,” Ross said with a grin. “I’m not going to jinx myself, hopefully.”
Kyle Schwarber and Castro had two-out hits during a four-hit third inning and Hernandez delivered another two-out RBI single in the fourth.
Stephen Tarpley made his Mets debut in the fifth but didn’t get an out. Washington loaded the bases on two walks and a single before Alex Avila was hit by a pitch. Andrew Stevenson followed with a run-scoring forceout against Robert Gsellman.
“It worked out well - good team effort,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “The boys bounced back well today after yesterday. They came back today ready to play, like they always do.”
Stroman (3-1), who entered with a 0.90 ERA, yielded five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
“I don’t dwell on any of them, but it was eight singles, balls that were hit in holes,” Stroman said. “It was just one of those starts that could have went either way.”
The Nationals had at least 10 hits without an extra-base hit for the first time since Sept. 25, 2014, when they got 10 singles in a 7-4 loss to the Mets. Washington is the second team this season to get 10 singles without an extra-base hit. New York also did so in a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia on April 5.
Nationals: LHP Jon Lester (COVID-19) remains on track to toss 90 pitches in a simulated game Sunday.
Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (right hamstring) threw four innings at the Mets’ spring training site in Florida, where RHP Noah Syndergaard faced batters for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2020. … RHP Dellin Betances (right shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (0-2, 10.95 ERA) tossed six scoreless innings Tuesday against St. Louis after giving up 16 runs in his first two starts.
Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker (0-1, 3.21) is slated to make his third start of the season at Citi Field, where he has a 2.61 ERA.
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