WASHINGTON – Taijuan Walker climbed onto Juan Soto’s horse after tagging him out during a third base collision that the Washington Nationals slugger deemed was more violent than necessary.
Walker and the Mets are punishing NL East.
Walker threw seven innings without nets and without complications and the Mets remained unbeaten in 10 series this season, beating the sloppy Nationals, 4-1, on Thursday.
Walker, a burly right-handed, tagged Soto in third place after the Nationals top hitter made an elementary gaffe on the base run, only to fall after Josh Bell hit a Grounder on the left side. Soto slipped into Walker’s forearm a few feet in front of the bag and argued over an obstruction call, but Walker already had the ball when Soto got there.
“It was unexpected. I got a little angry because it was a report and I didn’t think it would slip into me, “Walker said.” Smart game, I guess the kid would come second, but at the time I wasn’t very happy with it. “
After tagging Soto, Walker wildly pitched to second base and right fielder Starling Marte returned to third to pin Bell and end the Nationals’ best rally chance.
“Things like that, when we’re behind like that, those aren’t good baserunning decisions,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “We have to make better decisions.”
Mark Canha went 3 out of 4 with a homer and three RBI for first place Mets, who took two out of three from last place Nationals. The Mets have won nine series and split one, and haven’t lost two consecutive games in a month.
“We have a hitter of the day. We give the prize when we come in, “Canha said.” It was me today, and besides, the great thing about this team is that I’m pretty sure all of our hitters have won the prize at some point this year. … Someone is always the hero, and that was the highlight of this year. “
Walker (1-0) conceded three hits, walked one, and threw 85 pitches in the longest of his four starts this season, which was interrupted by a stint on the right shoulder bursitis injury list.
Seth Lugo scored two goals in the eighth and Edwin Díaz conceded Soto’s double homer in the ninth before retiring Bell to complete the four-stroke.
Soto said he was at fault for the run-down game, which came after opening the fourth inning with a brace from the wall in the center right.
“I was caught in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “I tried to slide. I didn’t try to hurt him or anything like that. It has to give me space to at least slide on the base.