Sep 11, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Eric Young Jr. (22) is out at third by Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) after trying to get to 3rd on an error on a pickoff attempt at first at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The Nationals opened a four-game series against the Mets at Citi Field with a 6-2 victory. Tanner Roark got his thirteenth win of the season, and the Nats cut their magic number to clinch the division to nine.
The Nationals scored all six of their runs off of Mets starter Bartolo Colon, who only lasted three innings before being ejected along with Mets manager Terry Collins. The Nats were probably sorry to have Colon thrown out of the game at the rate they were pounding his pitches. The Mets bullpen did not allow another run the rest of the way.
The Nats opened the scoring in the top of the first. Anthony Rendon singled and Adam LaRoche hit a home run that hit the foul pole in right. The Nats led by two. Ian Desmond was then hit by a pitch (remember this, it becomes more important later), but Bryce Harper flew out to end the inning.
In the top of the third, Jayson Werth doubled with one out. LaRoche singled to drive in Werth. Desmond reached on a fielder’s choice and an error by the Mets infield. Desmond hit the ball to Colon, who turned and threw to second to get the out, but found no one at home on the base. Both LaRoche and Desmond were safe. Harper singled to load the bases, and Wilson Ramos hit a weak ground ball which scored LaRoche from third, and the Nats lead 4-0. Colon intentionally walked Asdrubal Cabrera so that he could face Roark, who struck out to end the inning.
Denard Span led off the top of the fourth inning with a bunt single. Rendon homered to drive in two more runs and the Nats were up by six. Colon then hit Werth high up on the back with a pitch, and home plate umpire John Tumpane immediately ejected Colon. It was the second time Colon had hit the next batter after a Nat had hit a home run, and Tumpane ruled that Werth was hit intentionally. Collins came out to argue with the umpires about the ejection and was tossed for his trouble.
Daisuke Matsuzaka replaced Colon on the mound. LaRoche flew out, then Desmond drew a four pitch walk. Harper also walked and the bases were loaded for Ramos. Unfortunately Ramos did not use enough patience against a pitcher who was having trouble finding the strike zone. Ramos swung early in the at bat, and ground into an inning ending double play.
Roark, in the meantime, got through four innings without allowing a run. In the bottom of the fifth, Anthony Recker hit a lead off home run to get the Mets on the board.
The Mets were kept from potentially scoring more runs in the sixth on a fine play by Cabrera. After getting pinch hitter Kurt Nieuwenhuis to fly out to start the inning, Roark gave up a single to Eric Young Jr. Roark threw the ball over to first to keep Young close, but the throw was short and LaRoche could not corral it. Young was off to the races and did not stop at second but tried to get to third. Cabrera ollected the ball and threw a perfect strike to Rendon at third base to get Young out at third. Roark got Juan Lagares to ground out to end the inning.
Roark had not thrown many pitches by the time he started pitching the bottom of the seventh, but he had obviously hit the wall as the inning went on. Roark got Nat killer Daniel Murphy to line out to Rendon, but the ball was hit hard. Lucas Duda and Recker both singled and Curtis Granderson drew a walk. The bases were loaded for Dilson Herrera and he took advantage, singling to right and driving in the Mets second run. The bases were still loaded and Matt Williams went to the pen.
Out came Craig Stammen, who saved the game for the Nats. Stammen got Wilmer Flores to hit into an inning ending double play thus ending the Mets scoring threat. Stammen started the bottom of the eighth also. He allowed a single to pinch hitter Bobby Abreu and a single to Young, but got Lagares to pop out.
Williams decided to bring in Matt Thornton to face the left handed Murphy. Thornton hit Murphy with a pitch to load the bases. Both benches were warned–no more hit batters.
Thornton then went after Duda who hit the ball hard at Desmond, who jumped up and snared the line drive for the second out. Williams brought in Tyler Clippard to pitch to Recker. Recker was two for two at that point, but Clippard got the strikeout and left the bases full of Mets.
Ross Detwiler pitched a perfect ninth inning to nail down the Nats win.
The Mets have been playing very well lately and showed the Nationals during this game that they will keep fighting until the end of the game. The Nationals are going to have to take advantage of all of their scoring opportunities. Against this team, a six run lead was almost not enough.
Next Game: The Nationals and Mets play again at Citi Field on Friday, September 12th. Game time is 7:05 p.m. EST. Gio Gonzalez (8-9, 3.78 ERA) pitches for the Nationals, while Dillon Gee (6-7, 3.74 ERA) pitches for the Mets.