WASHINGTON – Jon Lester pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning to gain his first win for Washington, Kyle Schwarber backed him with four RBIs on a pair of home runs and the Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-2 Saturday to split a day-night doubleheader.
Francisco Lindor had five RBIs on a pair of two-run homers and run-scoring single for his first big offensive game with the Mets, who won the opener 5-1.
Lester, a 37-year-old left-hander, signed a $5 million, one-year contract with the Nationals after six seasons with the Chicago Cubs that included the team’s first World Series title in 108 years.
New York started an all right-hander batting order against Lester (1-2), who was within three outs of his first shutout in seven years before José Peraza hit a two-run homer in the seventh. Lester asked Nationals manager Davey Martinez to go back out for the seventh,.
“When he comes out of the game and looks at me, and says, ‘I want to finish it, I want the ball,’ when you have a veteran guy like that who has done what he has, you have to give him an opportunity,” Martinez said.
Lester gave up two runs and seven hits in six-plus innings with six strikeouts and no walks. He is 8-1 in his last 11 regular-season starts against the Mets, winning his last six decisions.
“That’s classic Jon,” Schwarber said.
Wander Suero allowed a pair of hits in the seventh, and Brad Hand retired James McCann on a first-pitch groundout for his 14th save in 16 chances.
Schwarber has 28 home runs in games started by Lester, his former Cubs teammate.
“Any time he hits a homer is great, but especially when I pitch it's really nice,” Lester said.
Schwarber led off the first with a home run off Robert Gsellman (0-1), who made his first start this season, and a three-run homer in the third off Sean Reid-Foley, who gave up five runs, five hits and four walks in 1 2/3 innings. Schwarber has 15 home runs this season.
Trea Turner homered in the third, his 11th this season but first since May 17.
In the opener, Lindor homered in the first on a sinker from Joe Ross (3-7), singled in the third on a changeup for a 3-0 lead and homered in the fifth on a slider for his 12th multi-homer game. The five RBIs were his most since his career-high seven for the Indians on July 2, 2018, at Kansas City.
“I think the first one gave me more satisfaction because it showed the work that I am doing is working,” Lindor said.
Cleveland traded Lindor to the Mets in January, and New York signed the 27-year-old to contracts worth $363.2 million over 11 seasons. Lindor, who had not driven in more than two runs in a game this season, is hitting .218 with eight homers and 21 RBIs.
“Once again, I’m just glad he’s trusting his power,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “He can create power and he doesn’t need to only pull the ball.”
Ross (3-7) allowed five runs and six hits in five innings. He was coming off consecutive starts without allowing an earned run.
“I just got beat by one guy,” Ross said. “It is what it is.”
SOTO DOUBLE DIPS
Juan Soto grounded into a 1-6-3 double play in the second. He has bounced into 11 double plays in 68 games this season, matching his career-high from the entire 2019 season.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (right groin) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday and said he will be ready to pitch Tuesday in Philadelphia. Scherzer (5-4, 2.21 ERA) pitched just one-third of an inning in his June 11 start.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (right shoulder) threw a full bullpen session on his 33rd birthday and is on track to start one of the the games in Monday’s doubleheader against Atlanta. Rojas said deGrom felt normal during a 20-pitch session. DeGrom (6-2, 0.54) left his Wednesday start after three innings because of right shoulder soreness. ... LHP Joey Lucchesi was put on the 10-day IL with left elbow inflammation, a day after pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and will have an MRI. ... OF Albert Almora Jr. was activated from the 10-day IL to started the second game and doubled twice. He had been sidelined since May 11, when he bruised his left shoulder charging into an outfield wall.
LHP Patrick Corbin (4-5, 5.60) starts Sunday’s series finale for the Nationals and RHP Taijuan Walker (6-2, 2.12) for the Mets.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports