At the point of home runs, Mets defeat Nationals

WASHINGTON — Daniel Vogelbach hit a grand slam and Pete Alonso hit 28 home runs, helping the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 9-5 on Wednesday.

New York won for the eighth time in nine games and opened up a 3 1/2-game lead over second-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The teams begin a five-game, four-day series Thursday in New York.

Chris Bassitt (8-7) pitched a seven-inning shutout for New York, which finished with 14 hits.

Mychal Givens, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, entered the ninth and gave up solo homers off Keibert Ruiz and Lane Thomas in his Mets debut. Givens was charged with five runs and Seth Lugo recorded the last out.

Washington lost for the fifth time in seven games a day after sending outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell to San Diego. The Nationals fell to last place in the majors with a 36-70 record, including a 9-38 record against rivals from the NL East.

New York took the lead when Francisco Lindor pitched a nine-pitch walk against Aníbal Sánchez (0-4). Alonso sent the next pitch over the center field fence.

Alonso is 6-for-11 (.545) with three career homers against Sánchez.

For the Mets, Dominican Starling Marte 4-1 with a run scored and one produced, Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor 3-1 with a run scored and Venezuelan Eduardo Escobar 1-0.

For the Nationals, Venezuelans Idelmaro Vargas 4-4 with a run scored, Keibert Ruiz 4-2 with a run scored and one produced and César Hernández 3-0; Dominican Victor Robles 5-1 with a run scored and an RBI; Cuban Yadiel Hernández 5-1 and Mexican Joey Meneses 4-0.

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At the point of home runs, Mets defeat Nationals