WASHINGTON -- Amed Rosario's bat and Asdrubal Cabrera's arm helped the New York Mets hold on.
Rosario hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and the Mets, after blowing a five-run lead, cut down the potential tying run at the plate for the final out of a 6-5 victory over the Washington Nationals in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Sunday.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and pitcher Edwin Jackson pinch-running at first base, ex-Met Daniel Murphy sent a sharp grounder into right-center field for a double. When rookie right fielder Travis Taijeron booted the ball, Jackson was waved around third.
Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares, quickly backing up Taijeron, grabbed the ball and threw to second baseman Cabrera, who relayed a strike to catcher Travis d'Arnaud at the plate in time to get Jackson as he made a headfirst slide.
"Instincts take over," Jackson said. "I figure the only way for me to get around the shin guards without sliding into him was to slide headfirst and try to manipulate my slide going into home."
Nationals manager Dusty Baker challenged the call, but it was upheld after a replay review.
"We thought that (d'Arnaud) blocked the plate; he didn't give him a lane," Baker said. "It didn't take them very long to make that decision from New York. From where I was, it didn't look like (Jackson) had any chance of touching the plate."
Rosario fell behind in the count 0-2 against Joe Blanton (2-3) with two outs in the eighth before launching a solo shot to center for the rookie's fourth home run and third in the eighth inning or later.
"I don't worry about home runs," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He goes up there to swing and he's dangerous."
A.J. Ramos pitched out of trouble in the eighth and worked two innings for his 25th save in 27 chances.
Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the first and Wilmer Flores added a two-run shot in the third (his career-high 17th) to stake New York to a 5-0 lead.
Alejandro De Aza had a triple, double and two RBIs for the Nationals, who left 13 runners on. Howie Kendrick added three singles.
With the Nationals trailing 5-3, Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Wieters singled off Paul Sewald with one out in the seventh and Michael A. Taylor's double scored Zimmerman to make it 5-4. Jerry Blevins (6-0) came on to face De Aza, whose sacrifice fly scored Wieters.
New York lefty Tommy Milone made his second start since a long stint on the disabled list due to a left knee sprain. He held the Nationals scoreless through four innings, but allowed a run in the fifth before Hansel Robles came on to strike out Anthony Rendon and Zimmerman, both looking, with two on.
The Nationals pulled within two in the sixth on De Aza's RBI double and Kendrick's sacrifice fly.
Washington starter Erik Fedde, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse for the doubleheader, gave up five runs and seven hits over six innings.
HARVEY IS CLOSE
Mets RHP Matt Harvey (shoulder) tossed 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start Saturday for Double-A Binghamton at Portland, allowing five runs (three earned) and five hits. He struck out two, walked one and threw 47 of 72 pitches for strikes. "Yeah, we're hoping his next one is a start with us," Collins said.
Mets: RHP Seth Lugo (right shoulder impingement) was activated from the disabled list in advance of his Sunday night start in the second game of the twinbill. ... RHP Noah Syndergaard (torn lat muscle) is expected to throw batting practice again Wednesday in Florida.
Nationals: INF Adrian Sanchez was sent to the hospital for a CT scan Saturday night after being hit in the chest with a pitch while attempting to bunt. A team spokesman said Sanchez checked out fine, was kept overnight to monitor his breathing, and discharged. . Zimmerman (triceps) was in the lineup after missing two games.
Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (10-8, 4.46 ERA) starts the night game of the split doubleheader. He is 6-2 with a 2.61 career ERA versus the Mets. Lugo (5-3, 4.85) is 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA against the Nationals.