NEW YORK — Seth Lugo kept pitching like a playoff-tested ace rather than a rookie, Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce each hit a two-run homer and the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 5-1 Sunday night.
The Mets won for the 11th time in 15 tries and stayed within one game of St. Louis for the second NL wild-card slot. They didn’t have much time to savor the victory — they hurried to Cincinnati for a 1:10 p.m. Monday holiday start.
Lugo (3-2) limited the NL East leaders to one run and six hits in seven innings, walking none and striking out four. The 26-year-old righty has won three straight starts, permitting a total of three runs, to help rejuvenate an injury-plagued rotation.
Lugo wobbled in the first inning, giving up two quick hits, plunking a batter, making multiple pickoff throws and drawing a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen. Lugo escaped a bases-loaded jam by retiring Wilson Ramos on a nubber and later set down 10 hitters in a row.
Granderson drove in three runs. New York set a team record with its 97th home run at home in a season, topping the 96 at Shea Stadium in 2006.
Danny Espinosa matched a career high with his 21st homer for Washington.
Reynaldo Lopez (2-3) gave up three runs on six hits, three wild pitches and a walk in four innings. Called up from Triple-A before the game, he did get his first major league hit.
Daniel Murphy singled and has a hit in all 16 games this season against the Mets, the team he helped send to the World Series last year.
Granderson hit his 23rd homer. Bruce connected for his 29th off Mat Latos, who made his Washington debut after being released by the White Sox in June.
The Mets and Nationals both wore hats honoring New York’s police, fire, Port Authority and other first responders during batting practice. The Mets also will wear them next Sunday on Sept. 11. This was their last home game before the 9/11 anniversary and they received permission from Major League Baseball for the tribute. The Mets asked the Nationals if they’d want to join them, and they did.
“These guys need to be rewarded,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, wearing an NYPD hat.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (sore elbow) threw a bullpen before the game and manager Dusty Baker said the reports were good. There is a chance the ace could start Wednesday at home vs. Atlanta.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (forearm) is still resting and it’s “very possible” he could miss two starts, Collins said.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (15-7, 2.89 ERA) was returning to Washington early to prepare for his start at 4:05 p.m. Monday against Atlanta. His start was pushed back a day to give him extra rest. Ryan Weber (1-0, 5.24) was to pitch for the Braves.
Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon (12-7, 3.35) was ready to start at Cincinnati vs. RHP Robert Stephenson (2-0, 3.00). The Reds will honor Bruce before the game at Great American Ball Park — the three-time All-Star outfielder played nine seasons for them before being dealt to New York on Aug. 1.
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