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Nationals 9, Mets 7 (10 innings)

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Shortstop Ian Desmond's sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning Monday afternoon gave the Washington Nationals their first lead of the game and lifted them to a wild 9-7 comeback win over the New York Mets in the season opener for both teams at Citi Field.

The Nationals fell behind 3-0 in the first, 4-2 in the second and 5-4 in the eighth before center fielder Denard Span's two-out double in the ninth inning forced extras.

Aaron Barrett earned the win in his major league debut with a perfect top of the 10th.

Right fielder Jayson Werth and catcher Jose Lobaton led off the 10th with singles off losing pitcher Jeurys Familia. Each advanced a base on a passed ball before left fielder Bryce Harper struck out.

Desmond -- who began the Nationals' ninth inning rally with a leadoff single off Mets closer Bobby Parnell -- followed with his sacrifice fly, after which first baseman Adam LaRoche drew a walk against John Lannan. Second baseman Anthony Rendon then provided plenty of insurance with a long three-run homer to left.

Rendon drove in four runs. LaRoche hit a two-run homer in the second and scored three runs. Desmond also scored three runs.

For the Mets, left fielder Andrew Brown hit a three-run homer in the first off of Stephen Strasburg and centerfielder Juan Lagares briefly gave the Mets the lead back with a solo homer leading off the eighth. Third baseman David Wright had two hits, including a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th.

Neither Mets starter Dillon Gee nor Strasburg factored into the decision. Gee allowed four runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five over 6 2/3 innings. He retired 15 in a row between the second and seventh but tired in the seventh, when he was charged with his final two runs.

Strasburg allowed four runs -- all in the first two innings -- on five hits and two walks while striking out 10. It was the 12th double-digit strikeout game in 76 career starts for Strasburg. He struck out eight of the final 15 batters he faced.

The Mets got off to a rollicking start as Brown - who made an Opening Day roster for the first time in his career - blasted a long three-run homer with two outs in the first to score Lagares and Wright, each of whom singled with one out.

The Nationals quickly closed the gap when LaRoche continued his mastery of the Mets by lacing a two-run homer to right with one out in the second. LaRoche has 24 homers and 71 RBI against the Mets, his best numbers against any opponent.

The bottom of the Mets; lineup manufactured a run in the bottom of the second, when catcher Travis d'Arnaud drew a leadoff walk, went to second on shortstop Ruben Tejada's single, took third on Gee's bunt and scored on second baseman Eric Young's sacrifice fly.

A one-out single in the seventh by Harper snapped Gee's streak and began the Nationals' game-tying rally. Desmond beat out a potential double play ball to extend the inning, after which LaRoche walked and Rendon doubled home Desmond.

Gee was pulled, but Mets relievers Carlos Torres and Scott Rice issued consecutive four-pitch walks to pinch-hitter Nate McLouth and Span, the latter of which scored LaRoche. Valverde got out of the jam for the Mets by striking out third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

NOTES: The Nationals/Expos franchise improved to 22-24 on Opening Day while the Mets fell to 34-19 -- the best Opening Day winning percentage of any team. ... Nationals LF Bryce Harper dodged an injury scare in the second, when he hit his head by the knee and shin of Mets 2B Eric Young while trying to break up a double play. Harper remained on the ground for a few minutes but walked off under his own power and returned to left field in the bottom of the inning. ... RHP Dillon Gee became the 23rd different pitcher to start on Opening Day for the Mets. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg made his third straight Opening Day start for the Nationals. He is the fourth pitcher in team history to make at least three consecutive Opening Day starts. ... Mets manager Terry Collins, who turns 65 on May 27, is the oldest manager in baseball. He began 2013 as the fifth-oldest, but Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker all retired or were fired last season. ... Nationals manager Matt Williams is one of four rookie managers, along with Detroit's Brad Ausmus, Cincinnati's Bryan Price and the Cubs' Rick Renteria.

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