Luis Garcia leads Nats’ charge against Mets

Luis Garcia will look to continue his hot hitting when the Washington Nationals host the New York Mets on Wednesday afternoon with a chance to win the three-game series.

Hours after the Nationals traded franchise cornerstone Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres for six players Tuesday, Garcia homered, doubled and drove in three runs in the Nationals’ 5-1 win.

The 22-year-old shortstop, a key component of the Washington rebuild, has hits in six of his last seven games, going 10-for-27 (.370) with two doubles, a triple, two homers, eight RBIs and two runs. Since joining the Nationals on June 1, he is batting .290 and has career highs of 58 hits and 23 RBIs.

“Over the last week, he’s been swinging the bat really well,” manager Dave Martinez said of Garcia. “And today was just another good day for him. But he’s starting to stay back, he’s starting to see pitches. I think he’s understanding who he is as a hitter. And he’s been a little bit more patient, a little bit more selective.”

Veteran right-hander Anibal Sanchez (0-3, 7.47 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season for Washington. He has allowed five home runs in 15 2/3 innings.

Sanchez is 6-7 with a 4.95 ERA in 19 career starts against the Mets.

New York was unable to take advantage of a strong season debut by Jacob deGrom on Tuesday and will turn to Chris Bassitt (7-7, 3.83) in the finale.

Bassitt allowed four runs on six hits over six innings of a no-decision the last time out. Before that, he had allowed three earned runs or less in six consecutive starts.

He won his only career start against the Nationals earlier this season when he tossed six scoreless innings on April 9.

DeGrom, who hadn’t made a major league start in over a year due to injuries, allowed just a run and three hits over five innings Tuesday night. He struck out six without a walk.

On a day when the Mets did not make a big-name trade, deGrom in effect becomes their biggest addition for the stretch run.

“It was good to see him back out there; it’s been a long road for him,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Now we have got to stay on that road.”

Francisco Lindor homered in his second straight game for Mets and has three homers in his past four games.

New York did acquire two players on Tuesday, sending infielder J.D. Davis and three prospects to the Giants for outfielder Darin Ruf, and acquiring reliever Mychal Givens from the Chicago Cubs for a prospect.

“It stands out that we were able to make our club better today, both offensively and on the run-prevention side,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said. “So I just focus on us. We made the moves that we felt were in the best interest of this organization.”

The Nationals also got home runs Tuesday from Yadiel Hernandez and Joey Meneses. The 30-year-old Meneses, playing first base following Bell’s departure, was making his major league debut.

“You build relationships with those guys and they move on,” Martinez said before the game. “I got to get ready to build more relationships with the new guys. So that, in itself, is a challenge. But I’m looking forward to it.”

–Field Level Media