Ball to Lindor overshadows Scherzer’s return

WASHINGTON (AP) — Francisco Lindor was face down on the ground near home plate. His helmet no longer covered his blue-dyed hair. His jaw ached from being hit by a ball.

On the ground, he heard and then saw how his teammates and coaches came from the cave, to start a fight.

“They hit me, I was lying on the ground, I looked up and saw the whole team there. All the coaches were there,” Lindor said. “I could also see the pitchers coming from the bullpen. That says a lot.”

The hit and altercation marred Max Scherzer’s return to Nationals Park, but the New York Mets’ new ace managed to lead them to a 7-3 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday.

The game started 14 minutes late because the lights in the stadium were not working. In the upper part of the ninth chapter, the actions were interrupted for 38 minutes by rain.

And through it all, Scherzer (1-0) gave up three runs and as many hits. The three-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher pitched six innings in his debut with the Mets.

The public stood up to welcome the right-hander during the warm-up. Scherzer walked, struck out six and gave up a two-run homer from his former teammate Josh Bell to tie the score 3-3 in the fourth.

Scherzer, who signed a three-year, $130 million deal with New York, knew immediately the ball was going to go.

In the second inning, a pitch from Scherzer hit Bell.

Three times during Thursday’s opening game, Mets hitters had been hit by balls — James McCann had two and Pete Alonso left with a bleeding lip in the ninth inning.

“I think they understood our frustration,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “If the pitcher throws there, these things can happen. Max had no problem controlling the ball tonight.”

So in the fifth inning on Friday, when reliever Steve Cishek hit Lindor in the jaw with his second pitch, manager Buck Showalter came out of the dugout, cursing.

The players and coaches of the two teams faced each other between home plate and third base.

X-rays ruled out a fracture. Lindor also did not have a concussion. He has a scratch near his chin, a wound inside his mouth and maybe a broken tooth.

He hopes to launch this Saturday.

“I don’t know how he didn’t take more damage,” Showalter said.

Cishek had just relieved starter Josiah Gray (0-1), who came to Washington in the trade that sent Scherzer to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July.

For the Mets, the Dominicans Starling Marte 5-2 with three RBIs, Robinson Canó 4-1 with two RBIs. Puerto Ricans Lindor 1-0 with a run scored, Tomás Nido 4-1. Venezuelans Luis Guillorme 2-0, Eduardo Escobar 3-1 with a run scored.

For the Nationals, the Venezuelans César Hernández 4-1, Keibert Ruiz 4-2, Alcides Escobar 3-0. The Dominicans Juan Soto 3-0, Nelson Cruz 4-1 with a run scored, Maikel Franco 3-0. Cuban Yadiel Hernández 3-0 with an RBI.

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Ball to Lindor overshadows Scherzer’s return