WASHINGTON — Max Scherzer pitched five steady innings in his return from neck spasms and the New York Mets finally broke loose for eight runs in the fifth to beat the Washington Nationals, 8-2, on Sunday.
Slumping outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha both had two hits and two RBIs during New York’s biggest inning this season.
“It’s just nice to get some runs and get Max some run support,” Canha said. “We know if we can give Max some runs, (it) gives us a good chance. I felt like our good ABs finally turned into something and we cashed them in.”
After losing 3-2 hours earlier in the completion of a game suspended Saturday because of rain, the Mets (20-21) improved to 6-14 in their last 20.
The 38-year-old Scherzer (3-2) allowed one run and two hits against his former team, striking out six and walking two. He threw 83 pitches, 50 for strikes, and lowered his ERA to 4.88.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner was scratched from his scheduled start last Tuesday in Cincinnati due to neck spasms.
Scherzer is 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA in his past four starts against Washington, and his 40 wins at Nationals Park are third all-time.
In the completion of Saturday’s game, Washington center fielder Alex Call made a pair of outstanding defensive plays in the ninth to preserve a 3-2 win.
CJ Abrams broke a 2-all tie in the seventh with a home run off Dominic Leone (0-1), who lost in his first decision with the Mets.