Washington Nationals Recap: Mets Use Long Ball To Tie Nats For NL East Lead

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The Washington Nationals (54-48) entered Citi Field on Friday night leading the New York Mets (55-50) by three games in the NL East. Tonight, they will leave New York with only a share of the lead. The Mets were able to use three home runs in the bottom of the third inning against Jordan Zimmermann (8-7, 3.54) and got a great pitching performance from Noah Syndergaard (6-5, 2.66) in the process to defeat the Nationals 5-2 and complete the three game sweep. It is the first time the Nationals have been swept at Citi Field since 2009.

The Nats did get on the board first. Anthony Rendon, who was batting second tonight, hit a ball off the top of the wall in center field against Syndergaard. The Nationals challenged it and it was overturned when it was ruled the ball went over the orange line for a solo home run. Rendon’s first home run of the season put the Nats in front, 1-0.

However, just like his last start against the Mets, Jordan Zimmermann would end up having one bad inning. Unlike that last start on July 22 when he got a no-decision, this one cost him a win. The lone runs that the Mets would score came in the bottom of the third inning.

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With Kevin Plawecki on second and two outs, Curtis Granderson hit a hanging curveball over the wall in right field for a two-run home run. Granderson’s 17th of the season put the Mets up 2-1. On the next pitch, Daniel Murphy hit a fastball into the upper deck in right for a solo shot for his seventh of the season.

Two batters later, with the score 3-1, Lucas Duda would continue his great series by hitting a two-run homer to right field. Duda’s 21st of the season and his third of the series extended the Mets lead to 5-1. Zimmermann went six innings, gave up five runs on six hits, struck out seven, and walked two on 95 pitches in the loss.

The Nats would get one run back in the top of the sixth when Yunel Escobar hit a solo shot to left center. His sixth of the season cut the Mets’ lead to 5-2. With the exception of the home runs by Rendon (who went 3-for-4) and Escobar, the Nationals could not do much against Syndergaard.

The Mets’ right-hander went eight innings, gave up two runs on seven hits, struck out nine, and did not walk a batter on 109 pitches in the victory. The Nats had their chance with two on and one out in the sixth, but Ryan Zimmerman flew out to center and Jayson Werth grounded out to second to end the scoring chance. Then, in the eighth inning, Syndergaard struck out Bryce Harper looking with a 99 mile per hour fastball to end the inning, stranding Rendon at second.

After Zimmermann, Felipe Rivero would pitch the seventh and eighth inning for the Nats out of the bullpen. In those two innings, he gave up no runs on two hits, struck out two, and did not walk a batter. It was the left-hander’s second appearance of the series after giving up the walk off home run to Wilmer Flores Friday night.

With the Nats down three runs, the Mets went to former Nats’ reliever Tyler Clippard to pitch the ninth. Werth would reach base with a one out single to left. But, Clint Robinson lined out to second and Jose Lobaton flew out to center to end the game as Clippard picked up his first save as a Met.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals will begin a four game series tomorrow night against the Arizona Diamondbacks (50-53) at Nats Park. You can catch the game at 7:05 PM ET on MASN. Doug Fister (4-6, 4.39) gets the start for Washington against Zack Godley (2-0, 2.35) for the Diamondbacks.

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