WASHINGTON -- A little bit of luck never hurts.
Fueled by three unearned runs and a solid performance by Bartolo Colon -- the oldest Opening Day starter in franchise history -- the Mets improved to 35-19 in openers.
Their .648 winning percentage on Opening Day is the best in the majors.
The Mets went only 4-15 against Washington last season.
Count the Mets as fortunate. Scherzer, the Nats' debuting ace, took a no-hit bid two outs into the sixth inning, having retired 17 straight batters after a game-opening walk to Curtis Granderson.
Scherzer again walked Granderson, then coaxed what seemed like a harmless, inning-ending popup on the outfield grass just behind second base. Dan Uggla initially called for the ball but deferred to Ian Desmond late. Desmond had the ball glance off his glove. The play was scored E-6, and the Mets -- trailing 1-0 -- had two in scoring position with two outs despite Scherzer's no-hitter remaining intact.
Lucas Duda, who had shelved extension talks with the Mets in recent days, followed with a two-run single to right-center to stake the Mets to a 2-1 lead.
Desmond had a rough day. His second error came when he skipped a throw to first base on Juan Lagares' grounder in the seventh. Travis d'Arnaud followed with a triple against Scherzer to give the Mets a two-run cushion. All three Mets runs were unearned.
Colon (41 years, 317 days old) also became the oldest starting pitcher to earn a win on Opening Day in the majors since Randy Johnson with the New York Yankees in 2006 (42 years, 205 days).
Colon faced two on, none out in the first inning after second baseman Daniel Murphy's throwing error but rallied by consecutively striking out Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, then coaxing a groundout from Wilson Ramos.
That began a streak of nine straight batters retired by Colon, until Harper's solo homer to lead off the bottom of the fourth gave Washington a 1-0 lead. Harper had been 1-for-11 with five strikeouts lifetime against Colon before the long ball.
Colon departed for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh with his pitch count at 86, the Mets holding a 3-1 lead and d'Arnaud at third base. Colon allowed three hits and one walk while striking out eight.
Uh-oh: Jenrry Mejia was supposed to close Monday but never came from the bullpen. The SNY telecast said Mejia had a sore elbow while warming.
Not-so-leaky pen: Late-inning relievers looked shaky for the Mets during spring training but did not flinch in the opener. Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia, ex-Nat Jerry Blevins and Buddy Carlyle helped shut down Washington over the final three innings. Carlyle earned his first career save.
Murphy's flaw: In addition to the throwing error, Murphy went 0-for-4 in his first action with the major league team since pulling his right hamstring in a March 19 Grapefruit League game.
Familiar faces: Matt den Dekker, traded by the Mets to the Nats at the end of spring training, struck out against Familia to lead off the bottom of the eighth as a pinch hitter. Jerry Blevins, the left-handed reliever acquired by the Mets in the deal, appeared an inning later. Blevins, who received notable applause from the crowd at Nationals Park during pregame introductions, coaxed a flyout against the lefty-hitting Harper to open the bottom of the ninth.