After losing two out of three games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, The Washington Nationals began a crucial three game series tonight against the New York Mets. The Nats were only two games ahead of the Mets in the NL East and had not scored a run against New York’s starter, Matt Harvey (8-7, 3.19), this season. However, the Nationals scored two runs in the first and got a good start from Gio Gonzalez (7-4, 3.93) as they defeated the Mets by a final of 7-2.
The first inning began when Danny Espinosa reached base on a bunt single. After Bryce Harper drew a walk, Yunel Escobar, who made great plays defensively all night, hit a ball into left field for a base hit that scored Espinosa and gave the Nats a 1-0 lead. With Clint Robinson at the plate, the Mets were able to get Yunel Escobar in a rundown on the next batter, but Harper was able to score from second the play to extend the lead to 2-0.
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Two innings later, the Nationals would score three more runs against Harvey. Once again, it was Espinosa and Harper who were able to get on base with a leadoff single and a walk respectively to start the inning.
Two batters later, Clint Robinson crushed a double over the head of Juan Lagares in center that scored Espinosa and Harper to double the lead to 4-0. Ian Desmond would follow that up with an infield single that scored Robinson to make it 5-0, thanks to a throwing error by Daniel Murphy. It was the Mets’ third baseman’s second error of the night.
After that inning, the Nats were not able to score any more runs against Harvey, but it would be all the runs that they would need. In the loss, Harvey went seven innings, gave up four runs on five hits, walked four batters, and struck out three.
As for Gio Gonzalez, he put together another quality outing. However, the Mets would find a way to score against him in the fourth. After retiring the first two hitters in the inning, Eric Campbell drew a walk and Lagares hit a double to right cdnter. After the Nats elected to walk Anthony Recker intentionally, it was Harvey who would hit a two-run bloop single to right to cut the lead to 5-2.
The Mets would threaten for more runs in the fifth when they had runners at first and second with two outs. In that situation, Eric Campbell hit a fly ball to the gap in right center, but Michael Taylor made a great catch to end the inning and save two Mets from scoring.
On the night, Gonzalez went six innings, gave up two runs on six hits, struck out four and walked three on 107 pitches (66 strikes) to record his third win in his last four starts.
After Matt Thornton and Casey Janssen gave up a combined one hit in the seventh and eighth inning, the Nats would increase the lead in the bottom of the eighth against Alex Torres. After a one out single by Robinson, Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer to right. His eighth of the season put the Nats up 7-2.
While it wasn’t a save situation, Drew Storen would pitch the ninth inning for the Nats. While he did give up one out singles to Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda, Storen struck out Ruben Tejada (second K of the inning) and got Daniel Murphy to fly out to center to end the game. The Mets had chances all night, but were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left ten men on base.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals (50-41) will play the second game of their three game series against the New York Mets (48-45) tomorrow night at Nats Park. You can catch the game at 7:05 PM ET on MASN2. Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.14) will get the start for the Mets against Joe Ross (2-1, 2.66) for the Nats. It will be the first start for Ross in the big leagues since June 19.