One run already had scored and the Nationals had two runners in scoring position with two outs in the first inning when Asdrubal Cabrera drove David Peterson's pitch toward the gap in left-centerfield. Leftfielder Jeff McNeil ran full speed after it and made a long reach in stride to snare it.
Then he hit the wall.
McNeil lay on the warning track to be attended to by manager Luis Rojas and assistant trainer Joe Golia and then attempted to walk off, but couldn’t. He had to be carted off the field.
Rojas said after the Mets’ 8-2 win at Citi Field that McNeil had X-rays and an MRI exam and was diagnosed with a left knee contusion and described his status as “day-to-day.” He will be re-evaluated on Friday.
“He's a fearless competitor,” Dominic Smith said. “Obviously you don't want to see a guy go down . . . but I just love how hard he plays and it just makes us want to play harder. It’s that type of energy that he brings and it’s just kind of contagious. It makes me want to play harder.”
“He's going to do things like this,” Rojas said of McNeil. “He went all out there to make that catch and stop their first inning from being a bigger one and arrived at the wall full speed.”
McNeil’s collision with the wall brought back memories of Mike Baxter’s collision with the wall to make a catch in Johan Santana’s 2012 no-hitter.
“It was a hell of a catch,” Peterson said.
After McNeil made impact with the wall, he looked into his glove for the ball as he fell backward onto the warning track. Once on the ground, he slammed his glove down in frustration at being hurt. He was clearly shaken up, but Rojas said the only damage was to the knee.
McNeil, who is slashing .293/.358/.362, was to bat third in the order in the bottom of the first. Billy Hamilton batted for him and went to centerfield with Brandon Nimmo moving over to leftfield.
Warnings after HBPs
Both benches were warned in the top of the fourth after Peterson hit Juan Soto with the second pitch of the inning. In the bottom of the third, Washington starter Austin Voth hit J.D. Davis with a pitch. Rojas said plate umpire Carlos Torres thought hitting Soto "was intentional” but disputed that.
“This guy's swinging the bat really well against us,” Rojas said. “[Pitchers] are going to expand away [or] expand down. . . . We’re trying to get him out.”
Nats 'fan' is tossed
Another strange happening in the third inning was the game’s only ejection. Pete Alonso took a two-strike pitch at the knees that was called a ball and Torres reacted at something screamed from the stands – not the dugout – by Nats pitcher Stephen Strasburg by throwing him out. . . . Rojas said Robinson Cano, on the injured list with a hamstring injury, is making the trip to Philadelphia with the team. He is eligible to be reinstated on Friday.