WASHINGTON — After the Mets ended their six-game losing streak with a 7-5 victory over the Nationals on Friday night, Travis d’Arnaud wore the ceremonial crown that the players give out to the MVP of the game.
D’Arnaud hit two home runs and drove in five runs against Max Scherzer, so he probably seemed like a worthy candidate. But Josh Edgin would have been totally within his rights to swoop in on d’Arnaud’s locker and take the crown for himself.
That’s what Edgin did in the ninth when he rescued shaky closer Jeurys Familia with the bases loaded by getting red-hot Bryce Harper to ground into a game-ending 1-2-3 double play, securing a win the Mets could not afford to let slip away.
“That’s what we’re there for,” said Edgin, who was the person least impressed with himself after notching the second save of his career and first since 2013.
Sorry, Josh. Even though Harper had been just 2-for-11 off Edgin going in, Bryce Harper is Bryce Harper and Josh Edgin is Josh Edgin. And the way the two teams have been playing lately . . .
“The way things have been going,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, “that’s a big weight off our shoulders tonight. That was a big pitch for us.”
It was a cutter outside. Harper hit it back to the mound. Edgin fielded it and threw a strike to d’Arnaud, who fired to T.J. Rivera at first to end the game.
“I was trying to get a ground ball and we got it,” Edgin said. “Turned two and got the save and got the win. We needed the win.”
The Mets came to our nation’s capital hoping that Thursday’s debacle in Flushing — their sixth loss in a row, injuries to Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes — was rock bottom.
The last-place Mets had lost 10 of 11 and the first-place Nationals had won nine of 10 going in, including a three-game sweep at Citi Field last weekend.
The Mets were looking for a spark and got it from d’Arnaud and his batterymate, Jacob deGrom, who struck out 12 in a gutty seven-inning effort.
DeGrom (1-1) gave up three runs — all in the second inning — and six hits with one walk. He let an early 2-0 lead slip away, but turned it on after d’Arnaud’s second home run gave the Mets a 5-3 lead in the fourth.
The Mets had a 7-3 lead with two outs in the eighth, but Addison Reed gave up a two-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman (his second homer of the game and 10th of the season).
In the ninth, the Nationals loaded the bases against Familia with three singles. Familia struck out Trea Turner before Collins turned to Edgin to face Harper, who is having an MVP-worthy April (.405, eight homers 25 RBIs after going 1-for-5 with three strikeouts).
“I just thought lefties have had success against Jeurys in the past,” Collins said. “Bryce is hitting everybody, but I just said, ‘If he’s going to get a hit, he’s going to have to get a hit off a lefty.’ ’’
Harper is 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts against Familia, but Collins still made a move he admitted he would not have made if the Mets weren’t so desperate for a win. Familia has been subpar in five appearances since returning from a suspension for violating baseball’s domestic-violence policy.
The Mets were without Cespedes, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list after straining his left hamstring on Thursday. Syndergaard, scratched Thursday with right biceps soreness, will start the final game of this series tomorrow.
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