Sánchez and the bullpen played big parts in Nats’ win Sunday

Nationals right-hander Aníbal Sánchez was once again able to do his job, holding the Mets to three runs in five innings of work.

The only big inning for New York came in the second when they scored three runs on five hits. Joe Panik got the Mets on the board with an RBI single and Jeff McNeil tied the game at 3-3 on a two-run double.

Asdrúbal Cabrera came through with a late two-run double of his own t make it 5-3 and Victor Robles sealed the win with a two-run shot in the ninth inning to lift the Nats to a much needed 7-4 victory Sunday afternoon before 41,000 at Citi Field.

“I think today was one of the most important games to win because we lost games to this team especially because they are in the division,” Sánchez said. “Everybody right now is really tough to face, Mets, Atlanta and Philly. That’s why this victory was really important.”

Sánchez noticed how aggressive the Mets have been in this series so he was careful with his pitch selection.

Anibal-Sanchez-Fires-at-NYM-Gray-Sidebar.jpg“Always when you have a lead it’s really good,” Sánchez said. It’s hard to keep it (close) especially against a hot team. They swing a lot, they start to attack every first pitch. In the second inning this is something they did really good and they take advantage of that.”

Up 3-0 early, that lead was quickly erased when the Mets scored three runs in the second. But Sánchez said he did not want to change his strategy just because they had one rally.

“I think just continue my game plan,” Sánchez said. “I don’t want to change anything just because I got three runs in the game. I just want to keep my game plan and key on the strike zone, keep those guys out of balance. I know which guy I can get out, which ones I have to battle. They got a pretty good lineup on the other side.”

A secondary storyline for the win was the work of the Nats bullpen, which allowed only one run in four innings. Nationals manager Davey Martinez pulled out all the stops by employing six relievers to get the job done after Sánchez left at the end of the fifth inning.

Tanner Rainey, Matt Grace (1-2), Hunter Strickland, Daniel Hudson, Wander Suero and Sean Doolittle allowed only one run on two hits with one walk and five strikeouts to post their first win in the series.

Suero came on in the eighth and set down the Mets 1-2-3 including strikeouts of Todd Frazier and pinch-hitter Aaron Altherr.

“He was good,” Martinez said. “Big thing with him I think is just getting him rest. When he’s rested he can come in and do those kind of things. He was really good today.”

Doolittle rebounded from his worst appearance of the season. Friday night he allowed four runs on six hits as the Mets came back to beat the Nats 7-6. This time, Doolittle crafted a 1-2-3 inning of his own for save No. 26. He struck out Amed Rosario for the second out and got Michael Conforto on a grounder to shortstop to end the game.

“It was awesome to go out there and get back on the bump and do what he did,” Martinez said. “It was good for him. Build a little confidence. Now we get to go home for a week and do it again tomorrow.”

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