Washington Nationals rally in the eighth to take series from Mets


The Washington Nationals entered today’s game against the Mets on the heels of an ugly loss to New York last night. For a while, it looked like today’s game would go much the same way, but the Nationals rallied late to beat the Mets, 4-3, and secure a big series win over their rivals from the north.

Jordan Zimmermann got the start for the Nationals and dominated the Mets the first time through their batting order. The right-hander held the Mets scoreless through the first three innings of the game, allowing just one hit over that span. In the fourth inning, however, things started to get ugly for the Nationals.

The Mets led off the top of the fourth inning with back to back singles. Zimmermann seemed to have the situation under control after retiring the next two batters, but Kirk Nieuwenhuis made him pay with a double to left field, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead. The Mets scored another run later in the inning on an RBI single off the bat of Kevin Plawecki, stretching their lead to 3-0.

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The Nationals cut the Mets’ lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Michael Taylor, but that was all the run support Zimmermann would get. Overall it was a solid start for the Nationals’ right-hander, who allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out six over seven innings of work.

While the Mets had a big inning against Zimmermann, the Nationals had a hard time scoring runs against Mets starter Noah Syndergaard. The Mets’ right-hander was solid over five innings of work, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out four. Syndergaard gave the Nationals ample opportunities to come back—walking five batters in five innings—but the Nationals weren’t able to capitalize on those free passes.

It remained a 3-1 game until the late-innings, when the Nationals began their comeback against Mets reliever Bobby Parnell.

After Ian Desmond got on base with a one-out walk in the bottom of the eighth, Matt den Dekker followed up with a single up the middle to put two runners on for Tyler Moore. Moore struck out, but a wild pitch by Parnell put both runners in scoring position for the Nationals to set up a critical two-on, two-out situation for Taylor. The young outfielder has been clutch with the bat this season, and he was definitely clutch today.

After working Parnell to a full count, Taylor delivered a two-run single to left, tying the game at 3-3. The speedy outfielder then proceeded to steal second base and later scored on an RBI double off the bat of Danny Espinosa to give the Nationals a 4-3 lead.

Closer Drew Storen pitched a perfect ninth inning to secure the victory for the Nationals with his 29th save of the season. With the win, the Nationals take two out of three from the Mets and stretched their NL East lead over New York back to three games.

Worth Noting:

Nationals’ third baseman Yunel Escobar left today’s game with an apparent wrist injury after checking his swing in the second inning. Here’s what manager Matt Williams had to say about Escobar, courtesy of MLB.com:

"“He got an X-ray [on his left wrist and hand] when he came out,” Williams said. “That X-ray is negative. We’re going to send him for further tests. That’s all we know at this point.”"

Next Game:

The Nationals kick off a four-game series against the Pirates tomorrow night in Pittsburg. Doug Fister gets the start for the Nationals, while Francisco Liriano takes the mound for the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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