New York Mets RHP Seth Lugo threw seven innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday at Citi Field to keep the Mets within one game of the second wild card spot.
Lugo (3-2), making his fourth start this season after being a reliever in July and early August, won his third straight start and improved to 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA as a starter. The Mets are 11-5 since Lugo made his first start and remained one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild card spot.
The Mets, who have been without Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, and will likely skip Jacob deGrom for multiple starts, have had to rely on younger, less-experienced pitchers down the stretch, including Robert Gsellman, an 11th-round pick in 2011 who threw six innings of one-run ball in Saturday's win, and Lugo, a 34th-round pick in 2011.
"These young guys have really been exceptional," manager Terry Collins said, according to Newsday's Laura Albanese.
Lugo allowed back-to-back singles to start the game and hit Anthony Rendon to load the bases with two outs, then got Wilson Ramos to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice to keep the Nationals off the board.
"It was tough, but it was big-time to put up a zero to start the game," Lugo said, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
Danny Espinosa homered off Lugo in the second inning and Reynaldo Lopez followed with a single, then Lugo found his groove. He retired 11 straight batters between the second and fifth innings, needing only six pitches to get past the Nationals' 3-4-5 hitters of Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper and Rendon in the top of the third inning.
"I just had good command of my fastball tonight," Lugo said. "I put it where I want it. ... I tell myself they're just hitters up there, not the name on the back of the jersey."