Pete Alonso twirled his bat when his first career grand slam broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning, then put his index fingers to his mouth as if hushing the crowd after celebrating with teammates near the plate, propelling the New York Mets to a 5-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
Chris Bassitt cruised through six innings in his Mets debut, and New York won its third straight to open Buck Showalter‘s tenure as manager. The Mets have outscored Washington 17-4 and go for a series sweep Sunday.
About 48 hours removed from getting his lower lip bloodied by a pitch — part of a string of Mets who have been plunked during the season’s first three games, leading to a benches-clearing interruption Friday — Alonso sent a 91 mph fastball from Joan Adon (0-1) over the fence in left on a 2-1 count.
New York loaded the bases with a single and a pair of walks against Adon, whose first big league appearance came on the last day of the 2021 regular season. That brought up Alonso, who hit 53 homers in 2019 as the NL Rookie of the Year, and a group of Mets fans near the visiting dugout sang a chorus of his full name.
He took a ball off the face in the ninth inning on opening day, after teammate James McCann had been hit twice earlier. Then Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor got beaned in Game 2, precipitating an on-field confrontation between both clubs and two ejections. A fifth hit-by-pitch came in the third inning Saturday, when Starling Marte was struck by Adon’s looping curveball - but this time, Showalter remained in his dugout, glaring with arms crossed.
A day after former Nationals starter Max Scherzer won his first start for New York, Bassitt - also an All-Star right-hander - did the same.
Bassitt (1-0), who arrived from the Oakland Athletics in a trade last month, gave up only three singles - just one of which left the infield - in six innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
The rebuilding Nationals drew a crowd of 21,369.
Washington wore its dark gray “City Connect” uniforms with cherry blossom petals for the first time. Juan Soto, last year’s NL MVP runner-up who had two hits Saturday, wore cleats showing blossoms.
LINDOR IN THE LINEUP
Lindor was back in the lineup after going through fielding drills several hours before game time.
“There’s two parts of it: He’s physically ready to go and he wants to go,” Showalter said.
Lindor hasn’t been checked by a dentist yet but thinks he might have a cracked tooth.
“I tried to eat and it hurt a lot. Hopefully, when I get to New York, I’ll get it taken care of. It hurts like if I had a cavity,” Lindor said, then added with a smile: “Hopefully the Mets have good insurance.”
He went 1 for 3 with a double and two walks; in the field, he was charged with an error when he dropped a toss while covering second base.
Mets closer Edwin Díaz left the team to go to Puerto Rico after the death of his grandfather. Díaz was put on the bereavement list. Lefty David Peterson was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. Showalter said Díaz could return to the Mets on Monday in Philadelphia. He would be eligible to play as of Tuesday.
Nationals: RHP Aníbal Sánchez might not be able to make his first start of the season Monday at Atlanta because he came down with a stiff neck on the flight from Florida to Washington at the end of spring training. Manager Dave Martinez said Sánchez threw the ball Friday and his neck was still bothering him.
The Mets, 3-0 for the first time since 2012, will try to complete a four-game series sweep Sunday, sending RHP Carlos Carrasco to the mound to face Nationals RHP Erick Fedde.
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