Conforto 'wanted Strasburg,' homers in Mets' 8-2 win at Nats

WASHINGTON (AP) Michael Conforto got exactly what he wanted. So did the New York Mets.

In his first regular-season game since August, Conforto came off the disabled list to hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Stephen Strasburg, Yoenis Cespedes also went deep against the ace, and Jay Bruce tacked on an insurance grand slam, leading the Mets to an 8-2 victory over Washington in the Nationals' home opener Thursday.

When new Mets manager Mickey Callaway was asked beforehand about throwing Conforto in against one of the NL's premier pitchers instead of giving him a minor league rehab assignment, this was the reply: ''He wanted Strasburg.''

''As a competitor, you want to go up against the best. They don't get much better than him,'' said Conforto, a 2017 NL All-Star who had surgery on his left shoulder in September. ''If we're starting there, then we should be OK.''

Well, then.

Conforto struck out on three pitches leading off the game, then grounded into a double play in the third inning. And his third AB? With two outs in the fifth, he drove a 97 mph pitch out to left. It was originally ruled that the ball remained in the field of play, so Conforto stopped at second; after a replay review, it was changed to a homer.

Bruce joked about the Mets' center fielder and leadoff hitter: ''His first two at-bats were his rehab. And his third at-bat, he was ready.''

Bruce's sixth career grand slam, and first homer of 2018, came off Brandon Kintzler in the seventh.

The Mets improved to an NL East-leading 5-1, while the two-time reigning division champion Nationals have lost three in a row after a 4-0 start under rookie manager Dave Martinez.

''Everybody's in a really good spot, confidence-wise,'' Callaway said. ''We're playing the game the right way, and it's just fun to see.''

Jacob deGrom (2-0) wiggled out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam to finish his six-inning outing with a flourish. After walking Bryce Harper to fill the bags, deGrom got Ryan Zimmerman to fly out to shallow right and Howie Kendrick to line out to shortstop, before Trea Turner looked at a 94 mph fastball for strike three.

Turner argued and was ejected for the first time in the majors.

''I felt like that was a big spot in the game. It kind of turned after that,'' Turner said. ''Unfortunately, I had the bat taken out of my hands there.''

Before a sellout crowd of 42,477 that braved a first-pitch temperature of 42 degrees just past 1 p.m., Strasburg (1-1) gave up four runs in six eventful innings. He balked in a run in the second, then allowed Cespedes' solo shot that tied it 2-2 in the fourth.

''I definitely want two pitches back,'' Strasburg said. ''I know mistakes were made and I paid the price for it. Sometimes you get away with them. But this time, I didn't.''

ZIMMERMAN'S START

Washington 1B Zimmerman, who only got two at-bats in spring training, went 0 for 4 on Thursday and is 3 for 22 (.136) with six strikeouts this season. ''Spring training is over,'' Zimmerman said. ''I'd rather not talk about that whole thing any more. You guys can write about it if you want.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: To make room for Conforto, activated off the DL before the game, the Mets optioned INF Phillip Evans to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Nationals: LF Adam Eaton tweaked his left ankle while scoring from first on Anthony Rendon's double in the third, then left after the fifth as a precaution. Martinez said X-rays did not reveal structural damage to the ankle, which he sprained on the same play he tore knee ligaments in April 2017, ending his season. Eaton said he thinks he'll need a day or two off but does not expect to go on the DL.

RIZZO'S NEW DEAL

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was given a two-year contract extension, tying him to the team through 2020.

UP NEXT

After Friday's day off, a pair of lefties are slated to match up Saturday in the second game of this series, with Washington's Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.50 ERA) facing New York's Steven Matz (0-1, 6.75). The weather could be a problem, though: The forecast calls for snow - yes, snow, on April 7.

---

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
NYM5-1
010120400881
101000000260
  • W: J. deGrom (2-0)L: S. Strasburg (1-1)
  • HR: NYM - J. Bruce (1), Y. Cespedes (3), M. Conforto (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
M. Conforto CF42121121.250.4001.0001.4008.0
A. Cabrera 2B40100012.292.370.375.7451.5
Y. Cespedes LF42111132.273.407.6821.0896.5
J. Bruce RF42241000.250.308.458.76612.0
T. Frazier 3B40000001.190.308.286.5930.0
A. Gonzalez 1B40100021.294.429.353.7820.0
K. Plawecki C31100111.250.471.333.8042.5
J. Reyes SS40000002.000.125.000.1250.0
J. deGrom P10000111.333.500.333.8330.5
a- B. Nimmo PH11100000.375.615.5001.1153.0
J. Blevins P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
R. Gsellman P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
H. Robles P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- W. Flores PH10000000.125.222.125.3470.0
S. Lugo P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-doubled for deGrom in the 7th
  • b-grounded out for Robles in the 9th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Eaton LF12100100.455.520.8641.3845.0
B. Goodwin LF20100010.417.467.6671.1330.5
A. Rendon 3B30310100.290.353.452.8057.0
B. Harper RF30000123.286.485.8571.3420.0
R. Zimmerman 1B40000015.136.240.273.513-0.5
H. Kendrick 2B40100003.348.375.522.8971.0
T. Turner SS30000033.231.375.346.721-1.5
B. Kintzler P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
R. Madson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
S. Doolittle P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- M. Adams PH10000001.200.385.600.9850.0
M. Montero C30000020.000.154.000.154-1.0
P. Severino C10000001.500.750.5001.2500.0
S. Strasburg P20000000.000.000.000.0000.0
W. Difo SS20000011.154.313.231.543-0.5
M. Taylor CF30000010.143.217.143.360-0.5
  • a-flied out for Doolittle in the 9th
BATTING
  • 2B - J. Bruce (2), B. Nimmo
  • HR - M. Conforto, Y. Cespedes (3), J. Bruce
  • RBI - M. Conforto 2 (2), Y. Cespedes (7), J. Bruce 4 (5)
  • 2-Out RBI - M. Conforto 2 (2), J. Bruce 4 (5)
BATTING
  • 2B - A. Eaton (3), A. Rendon 2 (2)
  • RBI - A. Rendon (4)
  • 2-Out RBI - A. Rendon
FIELDING
  • E - J. Bruce
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. deGrom (W, 2-0)6.04213501.541.0322.5
J. Blevins0.20000200.001.501.0
R. Gsellman0.10000100.000.500.5
H. Robles1.01000300.000.503.5
S. Lugo1.01000000.000.332.0
PITCHERSIP
J. deGrom (W, 2-0)6.0
J. Blevins0.2
R. Gsellman0.1
H. Robles1.0
S. Lugo1.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
S. Strasburg (L, 1-1)6.05442623.651.305.0
B. Kintzler1.024421118.002.00-4.5
R. Madson1.00000100.000.673.5
S. Doolittle1.01000206.001.003.0
PITCHERSIP
S. Strasburg (L, 1-1)6.0
B. Kintzler1.0
R. Madson1.0
S. Doolittle1.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. deGrom 86-58, J. Blevins 11-7, R. Gsellman 5-3, H. Robles 21-13, S. Lugo 24-16
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. deGrom 7-5, S. Lugo 1-2
  • Batters Faced - J. deGrom 24, J. Blevins 2, R. Gsellman, H. Robles 4, S. Lugo 4
PITCHING
  • HBP - S. Strasburg
  • Pitches-Strikes - S. Strasburg 92-65, B. Kintzler 29-14, R. Madson 11-9, S. Doolittle 18-10
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - S. Strasburg 8-3, R. Madson 1-1, S. Doolittle 1-0
  • Batters Faced - S. Strasburg 25, B. Kintzler 7, R. Madson 3, S. Doolittle 4
  • Balks - S. Strasburg
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
123456789RHE
NYM5-1
010120400881
101000000260
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
M. Conforto CF42121121.250.4001.0001.4008.0
A. Cabrera 2B40100012.292.370.375.7451.5
Y. Cespedes LF42111132.273.407.6821.0896.5
J. Bruce RF42241000.250.308.458.76612.0
T. Frazier 3B40000001.190.308.286.5930.0
A. Gonzalez 1B40100021.294.429.353.7820.0
K. Plawecki C31100111.250.471.333.8042.5
J. Reyes SS40000002.000.125.000.1250.0
J. deGrom P10000111.333.500.333.8330.5
a- B. Nimmo PH11100000.375.615.5001.1153.0
J. Blevins P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
R. Gsellman P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
H. Robles P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- W. Flores PH10000000.125.222.125.3470.0
S. Lugo P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
Total34887341011-----
  • a-doubled for deGrom in the 7th
  • b-grounded out for Robles in the 9th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Eaton LF12100100.455.520.8641.3845.0
B. Goodwin LF20100010.417.467.6671.1330.5
A. Rendon 3B30310100.290.353.452.8057.0
B. Harper RF30000123.286.485.8571.3420.0
R. Zimmerman 1B40000015.136.240.273.513-0.5
H. Kendrick 2B40100003.348.375.522.8971.0
T. Turner SS30000033.231.375.346.721-1.5
B. Kintzler P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
R. Madson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
S. Doolittle P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- M. Adams PH10000001.200.385.600.9850.0
M. Montero C30000020.000.154.000.154-1.0
P. Severino C10000001.500.750.5001.2500.0
S. Strasburg P20000000.000.000.000.0000.0
W. Difo SS20000011.154.313.231.543-0.5
M. Taylor CF30000010.143.217.143.360-0.5
Total32261031117-----
  • a-flied out for Doolittle in the 9th
BATTING
  • 2B - J. Bruce (2), B. Nimmo
  • HR - M. Conforto, Y. Cespedes (3), J. Bruce
  • RBI - M. Conforto 2 (2), Y. Cespedes (7), J. Bruce 4 (5)
  • 2-Out RBI - M. Conforto 2 (2), J. Bruce 4 (5)
BATTING
  • 2B - A. Eaton (3), A. Rendon 2 (2)
  • RBI - A. Rendon (4)
  • 2-Out RBI - A. Rendon
FIELDING
  • E - J. Bruce
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. deGrom (W, 2-0)6.04213501.541.0322.5
J. Blevins0.20000200.001.501.0
R. Gsellman0.10000100.000.500.5
H. Robles1.01000300.000.503.5
S. Lugo1.01000000.000.332.0
Total9.06213110---
PITCHERSIP
J. deGrom (W, 2-0)6.0
J. Blevins0.2
R. Gsellman0.1
H. Robles1.0
S. Lugo1.0
Total9.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
S. Strasburg (L, 1-1)6.05442623.651.305.0
B. Kintzler1.024421118.002.00-4.5
R. Madson1.00000100.000.673.5
S. Doolittle1.01000206.001.003.0
Total9.08884103---
PITCHERSIP
S. Strasburg (L, 1-1)6.0
B. Kintzler1.0
R. Madson1.0
S. Doolittle1.0
Total9.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. deGrom 86-58, J. Blevins 11-7, R. Gsellman 5-3, H. Robles 21-13, S. Lugo 24-16
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. deGrom 7-5, S. Lugo 1-2
  • Batters Faced - J. deGrom 24, J. Blevins 2, R. Gsellman, H. Robles 4, S. Lugo 4
PITCHING
  • HBP - S. Strasburg
  • Pitches-Strikes - S. Strasburg 92-65, B. Kintzler 29-14, R. Madson 11-9, S. Doolittle 18-10
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - S. Strasburg 8-3, R. Madson 1-1, S. Doolittle 1-0
  • Batters Faced - S. Strasburg 25, B. Kintzler 7, R. Madson 3, S. Doolittle 4
  • Balks - S. Strasburg
  • 7TH INNING
    Bruce homered to center, Nimmo, Conforto and Cespedes scored82
  • 5TH INNING
    Conforto homered to left, Plawecki scored42
  • 4TH INNING
    Cespedes homered to center22
  • 3RD INNING
    Rendon doubled to left, Eaton scored12
  • 2ND INNING
    Bruce scored, Plawecki to second on balk11
  • 1ST INNING
    Rendon singled to right, Eaton scored on right fielder Bruce fielding error01
  • 9TH INNING
    • Sean Doolittle relieved Ryan Madson
    • Wilmer Flores hit for Hansel Robles
    • W. Flores: Ball, Flores grounded out to first
    • M. Conforto: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Conforto struck out swinging
    • A. Cabrera: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Cabrera singled to right center
    • Y. Cespedes: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Cespedes struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • Seth Lugo pitching
    • H. Kendrick: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Kendrick singled to shallow left
    • Matt Adams hit for Sean Doolittle
    • M. Adams: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Adams flied out to right
    • P. Severino: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Severino flied out to left
    • W. Difo: Strike looking, Kendrick to second on fielder's indifference, Ball, Ball, Difo grounded out to first
    • End of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 8TH INNING
    • Ryan Madson relieved Brandon Kintzler
    • Pedro Severino catching
    • A. Gonzalez: Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Gonzalez struck out swinging
    • K. Plawecki: Ball, Strike looking, Plawecki popped out to shortstop
    • J. Reyes: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Reyes grounded out to second
    • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • Hansel Robles relieved Robert Gsellman
    • B. Goodwin: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Goodwin struck out looking
    • A. Rendon: Strike looking, Rendon doubled to deep left
    • B. Harper: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Harper struck out swinging
    • R. Zimmerman: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Zimmerman struck out swinging
    • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 7TH INNING
    • Brandon Kintzler pitching
    • Wilmer Difo at shortstop
    • J. Reyes: Ball, Strike looking, Reyes popped out to first
    • Brandon Nimmo hit for Jacob deGrom
    • B. Nimmo: Nimmo doubled to deep right
    • M. Conforto: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Conforto walked
    • A. Cabrera: Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Cabrera struck out looking
    • Y. Cespedes: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Cespedes walked, Nimmo to third, Conforto to second
    • J. Bruce: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Bruce homered to center, Nimmo, Conforto and Cespedes scored
    • T. Frazier: Ball, Frazier flied out to left
    • Middle of the 7th (4 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • Jerry Blevins pitching
    • M. Montero: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Montero struck out swinging
    • W. Difo: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Difo struck out swinging
    • Robert Gsellman relieved Jerry Blevins
    • M. Taylor: Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul tip, Taylor struck out on foul tip
    • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 6TH INNING
    • Brian Goodwin in left
    • J. Bruce: Bruce flied out to left
    • T. Frazier: Frazier popped out to shortstop
    • A. Gonzalez: Strike looking, Gonzalez singled to center
    • K. Plawecki: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Plawecki struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • J. deGrom Pitching:
    • B. Goodwin: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Goodwin singled to right
    • A. Rendon: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Rendon walked, Goodwin to second
    • B. Harper: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Harper walked, Goodwin to third, Rendon to second
    • R. Zimmerman: Strike looking, Zimmerman flied out to right
    • H. Kendrick: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Kendrick lined out to shortstop
    • T. Turner: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Turner struck out looking
    • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 5TH INNING
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • K. Plawecki: Plawecki singled to center
    • J. Reyes: Foul, Foul, Ball, Reyes grounded out to pitcher, Plawecki to second
    • J. deGrom: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, deGrom struck out swinging
    • M. Conforto: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Conforto homered to left, Plawecki scored
    • A. Cabrera: Ball, Cabrera hit by pitch
    • Y. Cespedes: Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Cespedes struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 5th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. deGrom Pitching:
    • M. Montero: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Montero struck out swinging
    • S. Strasburg: Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strasburg grounded out to shortstop
    • M. Taylor: Ball, Strike swinging, Taylor grounded out to first
    • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 4TH INNING
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • Y. Cespedes: Ball, Cespedes homered to center
    • J. Bruce: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Bruce grounded out to first
    • T. Frazier: Strike swinging, Frazier grounded out to shortstop
    • A. Gonzalez: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Gonzalez struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 4th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • J. deGrom Pitching:
    • R. Zimmerman: Strike swinging, Zimmerman grounded out to second
    • H. Kendrick: Ball, Strike looking, Kendrick popped out to second
    • T. Turner: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Turner struck out swinging
    • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 3RD INNING
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • J. deGrom: Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, deGrom walked
    • M. Conforto: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Conforto grounded into double play second to third to first, deGrom out at second
    • A. Cabrera: Ball, Strike looking, Cabrera lined out to center
    • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. deGrom Pitching:
    • S. Strasburg: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Strasburg grounded out to shortstop
    • M. Taylor: Strike (foul tip), Taylor flied out to right
    • A. Eaton: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Eaton walked
    • A. Rendon: Strike looking, Rendon doubled to left, Eaton scored
    • B. Harper: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Harper lined out to right
    • End of the 3rd (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 2ND INNING
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • J. Bruce: Bruce doubled to left center
    • T. Frazier: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Frazier grounded out to pitcher
    • A. Gonzalez: Strike looking, Foul, Gonzalez grounded out to second, Bruce to third
    • K. Plawecki: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Plawecki walked
    • J. Reyes: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Bruce scored, Plawecki to second on balk, Foul, Foul, Reyes grounded out to second
    • Middle of the 2nd (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • J. deGrom Pitching:
    • H. Kendrick: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Kendrick grounded out to shortstop
    • T. Turner: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike looking, Turner struck out looking
    • M. Montero: Montero grounded out to third
    • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 1ST INNING
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • M. Conforto: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Conforto struck out swinging
    • A. Cabrera: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Cabrera grounded out to shortstop
    • Y. Cespedes: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Cespedes struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. deGrom Pitching:
    • A. Eaton: Eaton doubled to deep right center
    • A. Rendon: Strike looking, Foul, Rendon singled to right, Eaton scored on right fielder Bruce fielding error
    • B. Harper: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Harper struck out swinging
    • R. Zimmerman: Ball, Ball, Zimmerman grounded into double play pitcher to shortstop to first, Rendon out at second
    • End of the 1st (1 Run, 2 Hits, 1 Error)