Mets strand nine runners and fall to Nationals in resumption of Saturday’s rain-delayed game

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WASHINGTON — The Mets didn’t find a way to win Sunday at Nationals Park, but they found a way to lose.

It was the continuation of a game that began Saturday afternoon and was delayed nearly four hours by rain. The Mets lost 3-2 with right-hander Dominic Leone giving up a go-ahead homer to CJ Abrams in the seventh.

The mistakes and the misses proved to be detrimental to the Mets in this particular game. The Mets left nine runners on base and were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They’ve scored only seven runs over the last three games and offensive production has been tough to come by since the calendar turned to May.

“It’s an area of focus. It’s tough sledding right now with that concern,” manager Buck Showalter said. “But you try to dwell on the positive. You’re doing some things to get people out and there were a lot of good at-bats. We just couldn’t get that one to push through.”

The Mets entered down 1-0 with runners on the corners in the third inning, but quickly tied it up with a sacrifice fly.

Things were trending in the right direction in the fourth when they loaded the bases against Erasmo Ramirez with one out, but Daniel Vogelbach and Luis Guillorme went down quietly to strand the bases loaded.

“Erasmo made a good pitch, I chased,” Vogelbach said. “I couldn’t get him in.”

Stephen Nogosek, who replaced left-hander Joey Lucchesi to start the day, got two outs in the bottom of the fourth, but walked Jeimer Candelario and hit Stone Garrett. Abrams then singled to right to score Candelario.

The Mets came back to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh but the Nats moved ahead in the bottom, when Abrams teed off on a belt-high cutter from Leone (0-1) to make it 3-0.

The Mets’ first run was charged to Trevor Williams, a pitcher who ate big innings for the Amazins last season and one they could probably use right now. The second was charged to Carl Edwards Jr.

Catcher Michael Perez was a bright spot for the Mets, going 4-for-4 with a double and scoring the tying run in his first game of the season. Perez was added to the roster last week when Tomas Nido was placed on the injured list with dry eye syndrome.

Perez’s fourth hit came in the top of the ninth when the Mets attempted a two-out rally. Brandon Nimmo then sent a single down the right side just out of the reach of the third baseman. But Alex Call tracked down Jeff McNeil’s fly ball at the warning track to help Kyle Finnegan convert the save, his eighth of the season.

“I hit it hard. That’s all you can ask,” McNeil said. “He made a good play. Ended the game.”

Hunter Harvey earned the win in relief (2-0).

There is a clear sense of frustration among the Mets and their sudden inability to drive in runners.

“Hitting is hard. Pitchers make pitches sometimes,” Vogelbach said. “We put good swings on balls and they don’t fall. Jeff’s last ball describes everything. Mikey’s ball, if it doesn’t hit off the wall the way it does, it’s a double and then Nimmo’s single scores the run.

“It’s tough right now. The whole goal with bases loaded is to put the ball in play.”

The game began Friday night with Lucchesi going down 1-0 in the first before getting a double play to end the inning without further damage. It was the seventh straight game the Mets have allowed a run in the first inning and they’ve now been outscored 35-9 in the first inning.

“We’ve got another one in two hours and we can’t really dwell on why things aren’t going the way we want them to go right now,” Vogelbach said. “We’ve got to buckle down and win a game in two hours.”