Juan Soto and Trea Turner homered in the third inning for the Nationals, who scored just 11 runs in their previous five games - including Sunday's game against the Baltimore Orioles, which was suspended in the sixth with Washington trailing 5-2.
Manager Dave Martinez said he sensed Monday afternoon that getting away from Nationals Park - where Washington played its first 11 games, including two as the ''visiting'' team against the Toronto Blue Jays from July 29-30 - was the spark the Nationals needed.
''Sometimes it's good to try and get away and do something different,'' Martinez said. ''I felt that tonight with these guys. We showed up. They took batting practice. They were rip-raring to go.
''You saw how they played. Let's keep it going.''
Keeping it going against his old team doesn't seem to be a problem for Cabrera, who played 374 games for the Mets from 2016-18.
Making his fifth career start at first base, Cabrera homered for the Nationals' first run, doubled leading off the fourth, laced a two-run double in the fifth and hit a two-run homer in the seventh. He became the first player to go 4 for 4 with four extra-base hits against a former team since Johnny Cooney of the Brooklyn Dodgers did it versus the Boston Bees in 1937, according to STATS.
Cabrera is batting .452 (14 for 31) with three homers and 11 RBIs in eight games against the Mets since Washington signed him on Aug. 6, 2019.
''It's not easy to come here and play with no fans,'' Cabrera said. ''But it's part of the business right now.''
Soto's RBI double produced the first run of a seven-run fifth, which was the Nationals' biggest inning since a nine-run second against Cleveland last Sept. 28. Howie Kendrick, Yan Gomes and Turner all had RBI singles, and Josh Harrison delivered a sacrifice fly.
Gomes drew a bases-loaded walk and Michael A. Taylor had an RBI single in the sixth for the Nationals, who scored their most runs since a 16-8 win over Milwaukee last Aug. 18. Washington's 17 hits were its most since a 17-hit outburst against Atlanta last Sept. 8.
Soto launched a drive that landed beyond the Mets' home run apple in center field and was projected at a career-long 463 feet. He also doubled and singled before exiting in the sixth.
''I followed the ball all the way - it was way far,'' Soto said. ''Most of the time, I don't see where they're landing. You don't even feel it. You just see the ball jump off the bat.''
Patrick Corbin (2-0) cruised to the win and permitted two runs (one earned) over six innings.
Steven Matz (0-3) was hammered for eight runs over 4 1/3 innings, the most earned runs he's allowed in a start. He gave up five runs over three innings against the Nationals in his previous outing last Tuesday.
''I've got to get with (pitching coach Jeremy) Hefner and make some adjustments here, because two games like this is unacceptable,'' Matz said.
Mets reserve infielder Luis Guillorme made his major league pitching debut and tossed a perfect ninth inning.
Jeff McNeil had three hits for the Mets, and Brandon Nimmo homered in the ninth. J.D. Davis' hitting streak was snapped at a career-high 13 games.
The Mets gave up their most runs since a 25-4 loss at Washington on July 31, 2018. It matched a 16-1 loss to Philadelphia in September 2012 for the most runs they've allowed at Citi Field, which opened in 2009.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WILSON
Mets catcher Wilson Ramos turned 33. He went 1 for 2 with a double.
DO IT YOURSELF DAVE
Martinez, who had a heart procedure last season and admitted he was scared after the coronavirus outbreak among the Miami Marlins in late July, was prepared for the Nationals' first road trip and the train ride to New York City.
''I have my own little Lysol bottle. I have my bottle of wipes. I cleaned my table down,'' said Martinez, who added he cleaned the tables for coaches Tim Bogar and Kevin Long as well. ''I had gloves on, had my mask on the whole time.''
Mets: RHP Marcus Stroman opted out of the remainder of the season. Stroman hadn't pitched this year due to a torn left calf sustained during summer workouts. The impending free agent was scheduled to pitch in a third and potentially final simulated game Tuesday.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (right hamstring) felt good while throwing a bullpen Sunday and will start Tuesday night. Scherzer exited his outing against the Mets last Wednesday after one inning due to the hamstring problem, which first cropped up against the Blue Jays on July 29. . RHP Will Harris (groin) is traveling with the team and scheduled to throw to hitters Tuesday. He was placed on the injured list July 31, retroactive to July 29.
Nationals: Scherzer (0-1, 3.29 ERA) tied his career low by lasting just the one inning last week.
Mets: RHP Rick Porcello (1-1, 6.92 ERA) will look to build on his best outing with New York when he opposes the Nationals for a second straight time. Porcello allowed one run over seven innings and earned the win last Wednesday.
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