The Washington Nationals and New York Mets played the third game of their series on Wednesday night and like a broken record the Nats held a lead into the late innings and could not hold it as the Mets rallied in the eighth inning and beat the Nationals, 5-3.
This game featured an old fashioned pitching duel. Stephen Strasburg and Jacob de Grom were terrific. De Grom pitched seven innings and gave up two runs. Strasburg pitched 7.1 innings and gave up three runs, one of which he was charged with after he was removed from the game.
The Nats faithful booed Matt Williams when he came out to remove Strasburg in the eighth inning. Strasburg had struck out 13 batters to that point and folks were hoping to see Strasburg surpass his own strikeout record. The Nats fans were also probably reluctant to turn this game over to the Nats bullpen given how they have performed the last couple of days. The fans turned out to be correct.
Strasburg threw 103 pitches in 7.1, 13 strikeouts, three earned runs allowed. Strasburg was masterful and did not deserve the loss. He was having trouble with his fastball command, so he leant on his curveball, which was killer all night.
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Bryce Harper hit home run number 35 in the bottom of the first inning to put the Nationals on the board.
Travis d’Arnaud homered in the top of the second to tie the score 1-1.
The Nationals broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth. Harper led off the inning with a double. Anthony Rendon had a good at bat, grounding to the right side of the infield to move Harper to third. Clint Robinson singled to score Harper, putting the Nats up 2-1. Ian Desmond hammered a ball to right field. Robinson tried to get to third on the Desmond hit but came off the bag at third on the slide and was called out. Desmond went to second on the play, but Wilson Ramos flew out to end the inning.
That’s where the score stayed until the top of the eighth. Kelly Johnson started the top of the eighth inning pinch hitting for Wilmer Flores, and he hit a home run against Strasburg to tie the game. Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit for de Grom. Strasburg struck him out, but gave up a single to Curtis Granderson. At that point Williams elected to go to the bullpen.
Drew Storen came in to pitch for Strasburg in the top of the eighth. The first batter he faced was Yoenis Cespedes, who hit a home run off Storen to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Mets, ruining Strasburg’s outing and putting him in position to be the losing pitcher. Storen’s ERA in the 9th inning this year is 1.62. In the 7th or 8th inning its 6.41.
Harper hit his second home run of the night in the bottom of the eighth against Tyler Clippard to make the score 4-3. That was homer number 36 on the year.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the top of the ninth in a non-save situation and gave the run the Nats had just gained right back. Lucas Duda led off the inning with a double and went to third on a groundout by d’Arnaud. Duda was pinch run for by Eric Young, Jr. who scored on a single by Michael Conforto.
Jeurys Familia came in to close the game for the Mets and did so for his 39th save of the year.
The Nationals were swept by the Mets and fell seven games behind New York for the division lead.
Next Game: The Nationals go on the road to play the Miami Marlins on Friday September 11th at 7:05 pm EST. Scheduled starters are Gio Gonzalez (10-7, 3.96 ERA) for the Nationals and Brad Hand (4-5, 5.20 ERA) should make the start for the Marlins. Game will be broadcast on MASN.