WASHINGTON (AP) Yoenis Cespedes hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning moments after pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson connected for a tying shot, and the New York Mets rallied past the Washington Nationals 5-3 Wednesday night for a pivotal three-game sweep.

Jacob deGrom pitched seven strong innings in a tight duel with Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg, who struck out a season-high 13.

Johnson's leadoff drive against Strasburg tied it 2-all before Cespedes teed off for a two-run shot against struggling Drew Storen, sending the Mets to their third consecutive comeback victory in the series.

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The sweep extended New York's lead in the NL East to seven games over Washington with 23 to play. The Mets have won six straight against the Nationals, including a three-game sweep at Citi Field from July 31 to Aug. 2.

Bryce Harper homered twice, doubled and scored three times for Washington, but it wasn't enough.

Last season's NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom (13-7) gave up two runs and five hits. He struck out nine and walked two.

Strasburg (8-7) was charged with three runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings. He was pulled after Curtis Granderson's single, and Cespedes drove Storen's second pitch into New York's delirious bullpen in left-center for a 4-2 lead.

It was the 14th home run for Cespedes since the Mets acquired him from Detroit on July 31.

Storen was right in the middle of a meltdown by the Nationals' bullpen Tuesday night, when Washington squandered a six-run lead in an 8-7 defeat. The former closer gave up a three-run double to Cespedes and walked three straight batters, allowing the Mets to tie the game in a six-run seventh.

New York also rallied from behind Monday and beat the Nationals' bullpen after starter Max Scherzer left with the score tied at 5.

Harper hit his second homer of the game in the eighth to make it 4-3. Michael Conforto answered for New York with an RBI single off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.

Jeurys Familia closed for his 39th save.

Travis d'Arnaud and Harper exchanged early solo homers before Clint Robinson gave Washington a 2-1 lead with an RBI single in the fourth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: LF Michael Cuddyer (right wrist tendinitis) was scheduled to take some swings for the second straight day. Manager Terry Collins remained hopeful Cuddyer could return to the lineup Friday in Atlanta.

Nationals: The Nationals are dealing with several ailments, as 3B Yunel Escobar (103-degree fever), CF Michael A. Taylor (swollen right knee) and 1B Ryan Zimmerman (left oblique soreness and tightness) were all out of the starting lineup with the status of their returns not known for sure.

UP NEXT

Mets: Bartolo Colon (13-11, 4.18 ERA) tries to extend his scoreless streak of 25 innings in Thursday's series opener against the Braves.

Nationals: Gio Gonzalez (10-7, 3.96) has fared well against the Marlins, going 6-3 with a 2.44 ERA in his career.