Mets end skid, beat Nats on Conforto's first pinch-hit homer

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NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Conforto hit a go-ahead, three-run drive in the seventh inning for his first career pinch-hit homer and the struggling New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 5-3 on Saturday night.

Conforto helped end New York's four-game skid and stopped a 3-for-19 slump of his own by connecting with the first pitch he got from Mason Thompson.

The 28-year-old Conforto was on the bench Saturday for the second time in three games due to a .218 average this season after batting a career-best .322 in 2020. Normally low key, he pumped his right fist as he rounded first base after the homer and again in between first and second, then exchanged enthusiastic elbow bashes with teammates once he touched home.

Kevin Pillar homered twice as the Mets matched their offensive outpoint from the previous four games combined with five runs. This was the seventh time they've scored more than four runs in a game this month, a chief reason the club is 7-19 in August and 7 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Atlanta.

Conforto’s homer made a winner of Trevor May (6-2), who uncorked a wild pitch in the top of the seventh that allowed Riley Adams to score and give the Nationals a 3-2 lead.

Ryne Harper (0-1) was charged with two runs while getting one out.

Edwin Díaz pitched the ninth for his 26th save.

The homer by Conforto completed the second comeback of the game for the Mets, who fell behind 2-0 in the first on back-to-back RBI singles by Lane Thomas and Alcides Escobar off Marcus Stroman.

Pillar entered Saturday hitting .159 with two homers since June 28, but he homered in the third and tied it with another solo shot in the fifth. It was the second multihomer game of the season for Pillar and the sixth of his career.

Escobar finished with three hits and a stolen base. Thomas and Josh Bell had two hits each.

Stroman allowed two runs on seven hits with one walk and five strikeouts in six innings. Nationals starter Sean Nolin gave up two runs on six hits and walked none while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings — his longest outing since Sept. 12, 2015, when he was pitching for the Oakland Athletics.

NASSAU VS. SUFFOLK

Nolin and Stroman both grew up on Long Island and were drafted two years apart by the Toronto Blue Jays. They faced each other for the second time this month. Stroman earned the win Aug. 12, when he allowed one run over 5 1/3 innings while Nolin gave up four runs in three innings in the Mets’ 4-1 victory in the opener of a doubleheader.

Nolin, 31, was born in Seaford while Stroman, 30, is from Medford.

A LONG-AWAITED THEFT

Escobar stole second baes in the fifth inning for his first steal in the majors since Sept. 3, 2018 while with the Royals. Escobar spent 2019 in Triple-A for the Chicago White Sox and last season in Japan. He stole at least 10 bases in seven consecutive seasons from 2010-16.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: C Alex Avila (bilateral calf strains) went 0 for 3 in his first rehab game for the Nationals' complex league affiliate. Manager Dave Martinez said Avila would need to catch six or seven innings in back-to-back games before being recalled.

Mets: IF Luis Guillorme (left hamstring) went 0 for 2 in his second rehab game for Triple-A Syracuse. ... C James McCann (back) caught a bullpen session and ran prior to Saturday’s game. ... OF Jose Martinez, who was rehabbing a left knee injury with Triple-A Syracuse, will be examined by Mets doctors after hyperextending his left shoulder while taking a swing in a game Thursday.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (6-8, 4.91 ERA) will look to win a third straight start, matching a career-best set Aug. 5-18, 2019.

Mets: RHP Tylor Megill (1-3, 4.07 ERA) is 0-3 with a 7.03 ERA in five starts this month.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Jerry Beach, The Associated Press

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