Mets stage improbable comeback to beat Nats

Wed Sep 9, 2015 12:23am EDT
 
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(The Sports Xchange) - Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a pinch-hit solo homer with two outs in the eighth off Jonathan Papelbon as the first-place New York Mets came back from a six-run deficit to stun the Washington Nationals 8-7 on Tuesday.

It was the largest deficit the Mets (77-61) have overcome to win a game this season and extended their lead in the National League East to six games over the Nationals (71-67).

"You've got to be kidding me," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I don't have words for it. I am not sure I have been involved in a bigger win than that.

"There is no sense of panic on the bench. It has to do with character. That is a big value of any player. This means a lot to everybody in that room."

It was the first career pinch-hit homer for Nieuwenhuis, who was 2-for-18 as a pinch-hitter this year. He last homered on July 12.

The Mets had scored six runs in the seventh to level the game at 7-7.

"It was almost hard to believe," Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann said of the seventh, when three Nationals relievers walked six batters.

Shortstop Wilmer Flores had an RBI single against reliever Blake Treinen before right fielder Curtis Granderson walked with the bases loaded off Felipe Rivero to trim the margin to 7-3.

Yoenis Cespedes then lined a three-run double down the left field line with two outs off Drew Storen to cut the margin to 7-6.   Continued...

 
Sep 8, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) and his teammates celebrate on the field after defeating the Washington Nationals 8-7 at Nationals Park.  Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports