The Mets are bullied by beating the Nationals for another series win.


WASHINGTON — Taijuan Walker stood by after tagging Juan Soto during a clash at third base, which the Washington Nationals’ slugger felt was more violent than necessary.

Walker and Mets are punishing NL East.

Walker pitched a fuss-free scoreless ball in seven innings, and the Mets cruised through the Nationals 4-1 on Thursday, continuing their unbeaten streak in the 10-Series this season.

Sturdy right-hander Walker tagged Soto for third place after the Nationals’ top hitter made a basic base-running mistake and fell into a rundown after Josh Bell struck the ground to the left. Soto slipped onto Walker’s forearm from a few hundred feet in front and claimed a request to interfere, but Walker already had the ball when Soto got there.

“It was unexpected. It was a rundown, so I was a little upset and I didn’t think he was going to slip on me,” Walker said. “Smart play, the guy was going to finish second, but at that moment I wasn’t very happy with it.”

After tagging Soto, Walker threw the ball hard to second base and right fielder Starling Marte threw another ball to third base, nailing Bell and ending the Nationals’ best chance for a rally.

“It’s not a good base decision if we’re that far behind,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “We have to make better decisions.”

Mark Canha had a three-run, four-run run with a home run, while the lead Mets had three RBIs. The Mets have won nine series, split one, and haven’t lost two games in a row in a month.

“We have today’s hitter. We reward them when they come in,” Canha said. “It was me today. And the cool thing about this team is that all of our hitters are sure to win awards at some point this year. … Someone is always a hero, and that was the coolest part of the year.”

Walker (1-0) allowed three hits, one walk and 85 pitches in the longest of his four starts this season. His right shoulder bursitis resulted in a brief stay on the disabled list.

Seth Lugo struck out two in the eighth and Edwin Díaz allowed Soto two homers in the ninth, then retired Bell to complete four batters.

Soto said it was his fault in a rundown play that came after starting the fourth inning with a double through the wall from right center.

“I was just stuck in the middle of nothing,” he said. “I was trying to slide. I didn’t try to hurt him or anything like that. He should at least give me room to slide on the base.”

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