WASHINGTON — Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and the New York Mets, after blowing a nine-run lead, extended their winning streak to six by beating the Washington Nationals 11-9 Saturday to open a split doubleheader on Saturday.
Ahead 9-0 in the fourth, the Mets saw the Nationals force extra innings on Andrew Stevenson's two-out, two-run homer in the seventh that made it 9-all.
Mets reliever Trevor May (7-2) escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth. Lindor then led off the ninth with his 12th homer, connecting against closer Kyle Finnegan (4-6) to also score the automatic runner from second.
Heath Hembree pitched the ninth to record his ninth save. Washington lost its seventh in a row.
The Mets have never blown a lead of more than eight runs in a loss, and barely avoided doing it this time.
"There's not a comfortable lead at the big league level," Mets manager Luis Rojas said. "There's not. We've got to be aware of that."
New York began the day four games behind Atlanta in the NL East and four games back of Cincinnati for the second wild-card spot.
The Mets squandered a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth Friday night before recovering to win 6-2 in the 10th.
"The boys, they are very consistent with their mindset," Lindor said.
Michael Conforto's 11th homer pushed the Mets in front 9-0 in the fourth.
Carter Kieboom hit a one-out double in the seventh ahead of Stevenson's tying homer off Seth Lugo.
"Any time to get in there, just try to do something with the bat or my legs," Stevenson said. "Just play hard and give them a reason to run me out there again."
The Nationals scored three times in the fourth. Alcides Escobar hit a two-run double to highlight a four-run sixth that made it 9-7.
Javier Baez hit his 27th homer as part of a four-run second. Two errors by Escobar at shortstop and a failure to cover first base helped the Mets pad their 6-0 lead by the time the inning was over.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez was ejected in the second. He argued with umpires following a check-swing ruling in favor of Pete Alonso, leading to a walk.
Martinez, who had ankle surgery Thursday morning, was ejected while yelling from a dugout bench. He needed to gather his crutches and use them to exit the dugout after being tossed.
Mets starter Marcus Stroman pitched five innings, allowed six hits, three earned runs and struck out two. Stroman called the Mets "adversity veterans."
Washington starter Erick Fedde allowed three consecutive singles to open the game. Jonathan Villar and Brandon Nimmo eventually scored to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead. Nimmo left the game after the top of the second inning because of right hamstring tightness. Rojas said Nimmo may be placed on the 10-day injured list.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Rainey (left side soreness) has not pitched since Aug. 12 for triple-A Rochester. Martinez expects to talk with Rainey on Monday about whether he will finish the season pitching or will be shut down. Rainey was expected to be a key factor for the Nationals' bullpen this season, but had a 7.62 ERA before being sent down.
Mets: C James McCann (back spasms) was activated Saturday. McCann had not appeared in a game since Aug. 16. C Chance Sisco, involved in a home plate collision Friday night then removed from the game, was feeling better Saturday, according to Mets manager Luis Rojas.
RHP Taijuan Walker (7-9, 3.89 ERA) takes the mound for the Mets in the fourth game of the five-game series on Sunday. RHP Josiah Gray (0-2, 4.73) makes his seventh start for Washington since being acquired as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers.