NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Taylor's parents planned to come see him this weekend, so they missed his smashing start. At least the rookie had a keepsake to show them — barely.
Taylor homered in his big league debut, setting off a silly sequence to retrieve the prize, and the Washington Nationals backed Doug Fister with four long shots Tuesday night in a 7-1 romp over the New York Mets.
"Definitely better than I imagined," Taylor said, his cell phone buzzing every few seconds with happy messages.
Bryce Harper homered early, then Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond and Taylor connected in the sixth inning as the NL East leaders won their ninth straight at Citi Field.
Promoted from Triple-A over the weekend, Taylor singled in his first at-bat and later hit a two-run drive the opposite way at one of the majors' most spacious parks.
A ball boy ran out to right field to pick up Taylor's home run ball, but mistakenly tossed it to a young fan in the stands. Alerted to his error, the ball boy and a couple of security guards quickly worked out a trade of another ball to reclaim the prize.
Taylor said he heard about the scramble, but didn't see it. He admitted he was "kind of numb" standing at first base after his first hit, and was "just trying to breathe and relax and enjoy it" after his home run.
Taylor finished 2 for 4. The 23-year-old outfielder hit a combined .315 with 22 homers and 35 stolen bases in the minors this season, almost all of it at Double-A.
Taylor got to start while star outfielder Jayson Werth got an MRI on his aching right shoulder. The team didn't have the results on that exam right after the game.
Fister (12-3) came back from a 25-minute rain delay and pitched seven shutout innings. He gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out three. Fister also hit a single for good measure after a 1-for-30 start at the plate this year.
"Doug throws what he wants when he wants and where he wants," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "When you go up there, especially when you're looking at our lineup four through nine, they're all pretty young, and he can carve you up and he does."
Fister sounded more excited about Taylor's performance than his own.
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