Francisco Lindor hit his head as the Mets Beat Nationals

WASHINGTON – The highest paid player in the Major League Baseball took the hill here on Friday night, and the surroundings were certainly familiar. Max Scherzer won the 2019 World Series and two of his three Cy Young Awards over six and a half years with the Washington Nationals, making it strange to many present to see him pose as a visiting rival of the division and honored with a video about honor.

But the recent roles of franchises have changed. The nationals are the ones who are renewing, and the Mets have spent a lot of money hoping to build a candidate for the post-season season, led by Scherzer, who is now 37 years old.

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On Friday, the Mets had the experienced, solid performance they envisioned when they gave Scherzer a three-year, $ 130 million contract over the winter. Despite recovering from a minor tendon injury, despite 11 days between dealing with the blows, despite several delays – including an incident with cleaning the bench in the fifth inning caused by a pitch that hit teammate Francisco Lindor in the head – and despite several mistakes on the pile, he led the Mets to a 7-3 win in their second game of the regular season.

“He was outstanding,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said of Scherzer, who allowed three runs and broke out six in six innings. Scherzer was also pleased with what he was fighting against.

“You have to protect your foot in this situation even though I felt like I was 100 percent and I could get into it,” he said. “But I just didn’t want to risk anything else. You may have an injury in one place, but something else will happen to you if you are too hard. ”

He added: “You can deal with injuries and tonight was one of them.”

Scherzer’s start came with already high tensions between the teams, as some of the Mets were bothered by the shots the team had in Thursday’s first win of the season. The worst of them happened when the field hit the first player of the Mets, Pete Alonso, in the mouth, and a worse outcome was avoided thanks to the folding of the helmet that covered part of his face. Looking from the dugout, Mets right-hander Starling Marte raised three fingers – to show the number of shots his teammates received in that game – and expressed his displeasure with the Nationals’ dugout.

A day later, tensions boiled over at the peak of the fifth inning. After center-back Brandon Nimmo tripled, Marte brought the Mets to a 4-3 lead with a double that chased Nationals starting pitcher Josiah Gray out of the game. Lindor climbed, hitting Nationals pitcher Steve Cishek on the second move.

But the ball floated up and inside, hitting the c-flap, as it is called, on Lindor’s helmet. He completely tore down his helmet and sent Lindor to the ground. The Mets responded angrily, and third base coach Joey Cora and Showalter yelled at Cishek, who retaliated.

Both benches soon cleared, and the pitchers ran off the bench. Players and coaches opposed each other, and some held each other and shouted. Juan Soto, the star outfielder of the national team, put his arm around Lindor, who wandered towards the scrum.

“I’m proud to be the New York Matt,” Lindor said later. “I’m hit, I’m on the ground and I’m looking up, and the whole team is there.”

After the players and coaches returned to their dugouts, the referees kicked Cishek out because they felt he had escalated the clash by not moving away from the scrum. They also ousted Nationals third base coach Gary DiSarcina for escalating the situation.

Similar to Alonso, c-lap saved Lindor from further injuries. X-rays of his face were negative and he passed concussion tests, the Mets said. After the game, Lindor said he was lucky to avoid a worse fate.

“One of my teeth may have cracked, but it’s not bad,” he added, then alluding to his nickname Mr. Smile, “I can still laugh.”

After the match, Lindor also revealed that Cishek apologized for the pitch. He added: “They are getting stronger and entering, and they are missing places. I will not go into whether it is intentional or not. It’s a game. “

Showalter said: “Scary, at first. In moments like this, fourth, I don’t really want to hear about intentions. “

The clash happened on the day with several delays or interruptions: a 14-minute delay before the first court due to problems with the lights in the Nationals Park, an incident with the cleaning of the bench, delays with rain in the ninth inning. Scherzer didn’t let any of that bother him.

He started the second game of the season, not the introduction, due to a leg injury that occurred in the final days of spring training. He was an obvious replacement candidate for first-day starter, ace Mets Jacob deGrom, who suffered a shoulder injury in the final days of spring training that will likely leave him out for months.

But Scherzer – whose off-season contract set an MLB record for the highest average annual salary ($ 43.3 million a year) – still needed a little more time to recover. And the day before his Mets debut, Scherzer said he feels ready enough to start on Friday and be able to manage his leg.

Against the Nationals, Scherzer was not the best, but he did enough to recover from his mistakes. With the Mets leading 3-1 in the fourth inning, he coughed a single blow to Nelson Cruz. Then, facing first baseman Josh Bell, Scherzer threw a quick ball down the middle of the board and immediately knew he was wrong. Bell smashed it into the right center seats for a two-tuna game.

But the Mets returned immediately. Marte gave the team the advantage in a heated fifth inning and added a single in two rounds with an inversion later. Second baseman Jeff McNeil, who scored in the third inning, added a single with a win in the seventh – giving extra breathing space for the Mets and Scherzer.

“Just a crazy wild experience,” Scherzer said of facing the national. “It is almost good that this was the first. Get that out of the way and let’s move on and keep marching forward. Lots of good memories here, but the team is different. ”

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