A Rebounding Noah Syndergaard Leads the Mets in a Rout of the Nationals

WASHINGTON — Noah Syndergaard had far too much time to dwell on allowing 10 runs in his last start. One thought, in particular, continued to surface.

“I wanted to make sure that never happened again,” the Mets right-hander said.

There was never a hint it would on Monday as Syndergaard pitched seven shutout innings and struck out 10 while the Mets defeated the Washington Nationals, 7-3.

Jeff McNeil hit a two-run homer for the Mets, who were playing a holiday afternoon game about 15 hours after falling to the Phillies in Philadelphia on Sunday night. The Mets remained four games behind the Chicago Cubs for the National League’s second wild-card spot.

The Nationals loss ended their four-game winning streak and prevented them from moving 20 games over .500 for the first time this season.

Syndergaard was easily the biggest reason, allowing three hits without a walk in his first start since yielding that career-high 10 runs against the Cubs on Wednesday.

“He was real good, I mean real good,” Washington Manager Dave Martinez said. “He got us to chase the ball up. Threw a lot more breaking balls than I’ve seen him throw before.”

Syndergaard (10-7) allowed a leadoff single to Trea Turner, then retired the next 16 batters. It was Syndergaard’s third 10-strikeout performance of the season and the 17th of his career.

Syndergaard needed only 90 pitches to make it through the seventh. It was the sixth time in seven starts he had pitched at least six innings and allowed no more than two runs.

“Today was vintage Noah,” Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo said. “This is what he’s extremely capable of on an everytime-he-goes-out-there basis. He was hitting his spots, and with the stuff he has, when he’s hitting his spots, good luck up there.”

McNeil was in a career-worst 0-for-15 slump before he sent Joe Ross’s two-out sinker into the seats in right-center field in the fourth inning. That ignited a five-run outburst that included J.D. Davis’s two-run double, which chased Ross (3-4) off the mound, and Nimmo’s R.B.I. double, which greeted reliever Austin Voth and made the score 7-0.

Ross allowed seven runs in three and two-thirds innings. In his five starts in August, he surrendered three runs over 25 2/3 innings.

Washington avoided the shutout when Asdrubal Cabrera, the former Met, hit a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth off reliever Tyler Bashlor.

Inside Pitch

Brandon Nimmo (neck) made his first start since May 19 after spending more than three months on the injured list, but is not expected to immediately resume everyday duties. “We’re not exactly sure how much stress all the guys can take at this point,” Manager Mickey Callaway said. “To bring Nimmo back and start him every day of the week would be pretty tough.” Nimmo was 1 for 3 with two walks Monday.

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