Strike 3! Mets whiff 13 more times in loss to Nats

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NEW YORK (AP) - Mets hitters are off to a record-setting start. Not the kind they had in mind, though.

Gio Gonzalez homered in his first outing for the second straight season and New York struck out 13 more times Wednesday night in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals, leaving the Mets with 31 strikeouts already this season.

In a post on Twitter, the Nationals said that’s the most for any team after two games in modern major league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

STATS confirmed the 31 whiffs by New York batters were the most in the first two games since at least 1914, surpassing the previous mark of 28 by Houston hitters against Texas last season.

“Obviously, we have to do a better job of putting the ball in play with two strikes,” manager Terry Collins said.

Collins stacked his lineup with eight right-handed hitters, but it hardly mattered. New York provided little support for Bartolo Colon (0-1), touched up for nine hits and three runs over six innings in his Mets debut.

The beefy right-hander signed a $20 million, two-year contract in the offseason after going 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA for Oakland last year, when he finished serving a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test.

Ian Desmond and Gonzalez (1-0) both homered in the fifth against Colon, who gave up only 14 long balls in 190 1-3 innings last season.

“I think I pitched very well,” Colon said through a translator. “They were just coming out a little high, that’s all. I was throwing normal.”

Jayson Werth had four hits for the Nationals, who followed up their 10-inning comeback on opening day with a more routine victory against one of Gonzalez’s favorite foes. The left-hander struck out six and walked one in six comfortable innings, improving to 6-0 with a 1.62 ERA in his last seven starts against New York.

Left fielder Bryce Harper threw out a runner at the plate, and Denard Span scored twice following extra-base hits. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen finished a three-hitter, the latest disappointment for New York this week.

Mets closer Bobby Parnell has a partially torn elbow ligament that might require surgery, and new outfielder Chris Young came out in the second inning with tightness in his right quadriceps. The injury kept Young on the bench in the opener, and he still hasn’t batted for New York.

“I feel terrible about not being able to contribute,” he said. “It’s the last thing you want to have happen.”

Juan Lagares, an early bright spot, got the Mets off to a good start with a leadoff triple. He scored on David Wright’s sacrifice fly, snapping Gonzalez’s streak of 16 shutout innings at Citi Field.

Consecutive doubles by Werth and Adam LaRoche tied it in the fourth. Desmond hit the first pitch of the fifth over the left-center wall, and Gonzalez went deep two batters later.

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