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Four-run 10th helps Nats rally past Mets

Mar 31, 2014 - 9:39 PM Flushing, NY ( - Anthony Rendon's three-run home run highlighted a four-run 10th inning, as the Washington Nationals rallied to beat the New York Mets, 9-7, in the season opener for both teams at Citi Field.

Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer and Denard Span drove in a pair of runs for the Nationals, who gave Matt Williams a win in his managerial debut. Williams was named manager of the Nats in the offseason, replacing Davey Johnson.

Andrew Brown hit a three-run homer, David Wright had a two-run blast and Juan Lagares added a solo shot for New York, which couldn't hold on for the win despite a pair of late-inning leads. The Mets' bullpen blew a two-run, seventh-inning lead and a one-run, ninth-inning edge before allowing Washington to take the lead for good in the 10th inning.

Jayson Werth scored the first run of the 10th inning, racing home on a sac fly by Ian Desmond. Then, with a pair of runners on and two outs, Rendon hit a three-run homer off John Lannan. Fellow reliever Jeurys Familia (0-1) began the inning and took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Aaron Barrett (1-0) got the win in his big league debut, tossing a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts. Jerry Blevins secured the win, despite allowing a two-run homer to Wright, by striking out the side in the 10th. Washington pitchers struck out 18 batters on the day.

"I have a stomach ache now, which is probably pretty normal," said Williams after the game. "I'll probably sleep pretty good tonight. Our guys played pretty good."

Wright went 3-for-5 and has a hit in all 10 of his Opening Day games, going 16-of-41 with four homers and 11 RBI in those games.

Washington starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, making his third straight Opening Day start, allowed four runs on five hits, striking out 10 and walking two in six innings. A two-run seventh inning got him off the hook and cost New York starter Dillon Gee a shot at the win.

Gee, making his first career Opening Day start, was charged with four runs on four hits, striking out five and walking two in 6 2/3 innings.

New York's big offseason acquisition, Curtis Granderson, went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. The starting right fielder was signed to a four-year, $60 million deal in the offseason.

"You never like to lose Opening Day," said New York manager Terry Collins. "but it's just one of 162."

The Mets got to Strasburg in the first when Brown hit a three-run homer, but LaRoche drew the Nationals within one in the top of the second inning with his two-run blast off Gee.

New York manufactured a run in the home half of the inning when Travis d'Arnaud began the inning with a walk. He was then moved to second on a Ruben Tejada base hit and to third on a Gee sac bunt. Eric Young Jr. followed with a sac-fly liner to right that scored d'Arnaud without a throw.

After LaRoche's homer, Gee settled down to retire 15 straight until he got into trouble in the seventh. With two outs and a runner on first, Gee was left in to face LaRoche, who worked a walk. Gee then yielded an RBI double to Rendon, ending his day.

Rendon finished 2-for-5 with four RBI. He was the only Nationals player with multiple hits.

Carlos Torres came on for Gee and walked pinch-hitter Nate McLouth on four pitches to load the bases. Scott Rice then came on for Torres and walked Span on four pitches to force home the tying run. However, New York reliever Valverde came on to strike out Zimmerman to end the frame and limit the damage.

Valverde then worked a perfect eighth, allowing Lagares' homer to lead off the bottom half of the inning off Washington reliever Tyler Clippard to stake the Mets to a brief 5-4 edge.

The lead was short lived because New York closer Bobby Parnell failed to shut the door. Desmond started the ninth with a single, moved to second on a two-out walk to In the ninth, Parnell allowed a lead-off single to Danny Espinoza and then scored on Span's RBI double to left. Parnell limited the damage by getting Zimmerman to fly out to center to end the inning.

"He threw the ball fine," said Collins of Parnell, who had neck surgery in the offseason. "The base on balls to Espinoza was the big at bat. That was the guy he wanted to get."

Game Notes

The Mets honored longtime broadcaster Ralph Kiner during pre-game ceremonies ... Mets starting 2B Daniel Murphy missed the game as his wife was giving birth to their first child. Young Jr. started at 2B in his place. It was only his second start at 2B in three seasons ... Washington's Bryce Harper took Young's shin to the head while breaking up a potential double-play when sliding into second base. He was attended to by the training staff but remained in the game ... ... Brown was starting in left field after Chris Young was scratched with a quad injury ... The Nats improved to 4-6 on Opening Day ... New York fell to 34-19 on Opening Day, still the best winning percentage in the majors.