After a long, hard-fought pitcher’s duel in New York, the Mets defeated the Washington Nationals in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 12th inning Friday night.
Gio Gonzalez got the start for the Nationals, and for a while it looked like he was on his way to one of his best starts of the season. The left-hander dominated during the first three innings of the game, striking out three batters and facing just one over the minimum.
In the fourth inning, however, the wheels started to come off for Gonzalez.
Gonzalez got two quick outs in the fourth and appeared to have everything under control. But within minutes, Gonzalez had walked two batters to set the stage for Mets second baseman Wilmer Flores. after battling through a seven-pitch at-bat, Flores hit an RBI single to left field to drive in Juan Uribe from second and give the Mets 1-0 lead. Gonzalez then walked Juan Legares to load the bases for the Mets, prompting manager Matt Williams to take his left-hander out of the game.
Needless to say, it was a disaster of an inning for Gonzalez. Tanner Roark stopped the bleeding once Gonzalez left the game, but the left-hander threw 34 pitches in the frame and forced Williams to tap into the bullpen earlier than he would have liked.
On the night, Gonzalez allowed one run on four hits while striking out six batters and walking four. After completely losing his command in the fourth inning, Gonzalez ended his night having thrown 105 pitches (59 strikes) in just 4 2/3 innings.
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Fortunately for the Nationals, Roark came into the game and made up for Gonzalez’ early exit. Roark dominated out of the ‘pen, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings while striking out four batters and walking none.
Unfortunately for the Nationals Mets starter Matt Harvey was on his game tonight, making the 1-0 deficit seem much, much bigger.
Harvey dominated the Nationals’ lineup for most of the night. For seven innings the Nationals’ offense had no answers for the Mets’ right-hander—who carried a perfect game into the sixth inning. In the eight inning, however, the Nationals finally had their chance.
After getting two quick outs, Harvey hit pinch-hitter Clint Robinson with a pitch to put the tying run on first base. Anthony Rendon followed up with an infield single, moving Danny Espinosa—who pinch hit for Robinson—into scoring position. With the tying run on second base, Yunel Escobar came through for the Nationals with a sharp single up the middle, scoring Espinosa and tying the game at 1-1.
Despite the run, Harvey turned in a dominant performance from the Mets. The right-hander lasted 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out nine.
After the Nationals tied the game, the pitcher’s duel continued. Aaron Barrett pitched two scoreless innings for the Nationals. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia combined to pitch two scoreless frames for the Mets. Felipe Rivero pitched a scoreless 10th inning for the Nationals, Hansel Robles did the same for the Mets in the 11th.
In the 11th inning, Bryce Harper was ejected from the ball game after arguing a questionable call on a called third strike from Robles. The ejection created a difficult situation for the Nationals as the team was already shorthanded on the bench. Because there weren’t any more outfielders on the bench, Dan Uggla entered the game to play first base for the first time in his career. Ryan Zimmerman then shifted to left field for the first time this season, and Jayson Werth moved over to right field.
After the drama of the top of the 11th inning, Rivero shut down the Mets in order in the bottom of the frame to send the game to the 12th inning. And after the Nats were once again scoreless in the top of the frame, the Mets finally broke through in the bottom of the 12th.
With Rivero in the game for his third inning of work, Flores led off the inning and crushed the third pitch he saw over the wall in left-center field. It was a walk-off shot for the young infielder, giving the Mets a 2-1 victory over the Nationals in 12 innings.
With the loss, the Nationals’ lead over the Mets in the NL East is down to two games.
Next Game: The Nationals look to even the series tomorrow night at Citi Field. Joe Ross gets the start for Washington, while Jacob deGrom takes the mound for New York at 7:10 p.m. ET.