NEW YORK — Lucas Duda homered twice and hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning after newcomer Yoenis Cespedes was walked intentionally, leading the New York Mets to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night in front of the second largest regular-season crowd ever at Citi Field.
Playing in his first game since being acquired from Detroit Friday at the trade deadline, Cespedes was walked by reliever Matt Thornton (1-1) even though Duda had connected twice on fireworks night off Joe Ross and has been on a recent tear.
With 42,996 fans on their feet and cheering, Duda drove a 1-2 pitch the opposite way to left field that short-hopped the wall. Curtis Granderson, who doubled leading off the inning, scored to put New York ahead.
The Mets beat the NL East-leading Nationals with a big, late hit for the second straight night to move within a game of first place with one game to go in this series.
New York fell behind in the first on Ian Desmond's two-run single off Jacob deGrom. Ross held New York without a hit until Duda sent a shot to center field with two outs in the fourth. Duda then homered to left field leading off the seventh for his eighth long ball in seven days, with three multihomer games.
The big first baseman connected twice off Ross. Four days earlier, Duda hit one of his three homers against the Padres off Joe's brother Tyson Ross.
Joe Ross allowed only two other hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out sixth in his sixth major league start.
Hansel Robles (3-2) struck out Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in the eighth for the win. Jeurys Familia was perfect in the ninth for his 28th save, striking out Michael Taylor with the elated crowd stand and chanting "Let's go Mets!" for the final out.
Cespedes batted third and received a polite standing ovation when he came to the plate in the first. He grounded out in his first two at-bats. But he got a rise out of the crowd in the sixth when he hit a long flyball to left that went foul. He struck out. He was 0 for 3 with the walk.
Nationals: Denard Span (back spasms) took 30 swings off a tee, his first swings in three weeks, he said. He also said he lifted weights and ran sprints for first time in last couple of days. He says he felt good but the test will be how he feels in the days after the workouts. "I still have a long road ahead of me," Span said.
Mets: 3B David Wright (back) will travel with the team to Miami and continue his workouts, manager Terry Collins says. He should then go to the club's complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where he will soon begin rehab games. "I don't think there is any question David Wright will play again this summer," Collins said. ... Top prospect Michael Conforto was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Cespedes.
Nationals: Jordan Zimmermann has faced the Mets more than any other opponent, 22 games, and he is 8-5 with a 2.96 ERA.
Daniel Murphy is batting .340 with five RBIs in 50 at-bats against the right-hander.
Mets: Rookie Noah Syndergaard is coming off his best start as a big leaguer. He retired his first 18 batters and finished by allowing only three hits. In his only game against the Nationals, the right-hander faced Bryce Harper three times and gave up two hits.