WASHINGTON - If Lucas Duda harbored any disappointment about contract extension talks that ultimately led nowhere, he didn't show it in the season opener.
Duda's clutch two-run single in the sixth inning -- the first hit off Max Scherzer -- helped the Mets to a 3-1 victory over the Nationals Monday. Ian Desmond's two-out error opened the door for Duda, who ripped Scherzer's 1-and-2 pitch -- a 98-mph fastball -- to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.
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Batting in the third spot, Duda was 2-for-4.
"That's why he's hitting where he's hitting," manager Terry Collins said. "Because not only is he a guy who will take a walk and do some damage, but we think he's going to hit."
"There's really no disappointment," Duda said before the game when asked about failed contract talks. "I'm actually very fortunate to be put in that position, very thankful, too. But the two sides couldn't come to an agreement."
General manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets are open to continuing negotiations during the season, though he doubts that talks will resume until after the season.
"If it comes up, it comes up," Duda said. "But I'd rather focus on the games day-to-day."
Shuffling the deck
With a strong spring training, Juan Lagares appeared to be the Mets' choice to bat leadoff to begin the season.
Instead, that duty fell to Curtis Granderson, who will front an atypical lineup that Collins hopes will generate more runs.
David Wright batted second, one up from his typical third position, with Duda hitting third. Michael Cuddyer filled the cleanup spot ahead of No. 5 hitter Daniel Murphy and Lagares, who hit sixth.
Collins said he was wary about throwing Lagares into the leadoff spot against a Nationals rotation featuring Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg.
Said Collins: "To have Juan go to the top of the lineup against these three guys -- and opening his first time really leading off -- I thought it was a lot to ask."
The Mets are 35-19 on Opening Day, improving their major league-best winning percentage to .648. They have won eight of their last 10 openers . . . Bartolo Colon's eight strikeouts tied for fifth-most by a Mets pitcher on Opening Day . . . By holding the Nationals to three hits, the Mets tied the team record for fewest hits allowed in a season opener . . . Murphy went 0-for-4 with a throwing error after hustling back from a hamstring injury in time for Opening Day.