The Nationals defeated the Mets 7-1 in the second of a three-game set. The Mets are now 1.5 games behind the Nationals in the NL East and a half game behind the Phillies.
This one was about the pitching. Mets hitters couldn’t figure out Nationals starter Gio González and were only able to muster two hits against him over the first six innings: a fourth inning home run by Yoenis Céspedes and a sixth inning single from Juan Lagares. In the seventh, González recorded an out, but allowed three singles. This chased him from the game and gave the Mets a chance to put a crooked number on the board, but reliever Felipe Rivero was able to get Kevin Plawecki and pinch-hitter Michael Conforto to ground out to end the inning without letting a runner cross the plate. In the end, the Mets’ lone run was Céspedes’ home run.
Mets pitchers, conversely, couldn’t stop walking batters. They walked 11 batters and hit two, in all. This was the 17th time in Mets history that the team has walked 11 batters in a nine-inning game. Unsurprisingly, there are a whole lot of losses in these games. It’s actually surprising that they were able to win one of the 17 (a 9-4 win against the Cubs on April 7, 1979, according to Baseball Reference).
It started with Bartolo Colón, who had his worst outing of the season and walked five batters in 4.2 innings pitched. Colón, who survives on command of the strike zone, hadn’t walked more than one batter in a start all season. The last time he had walked even four batters in a game was on June 11, 2013, and the last time he walked five batters was in 2005.
Colón paid for the walks, too. With two outs in the top of the third, he walked Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper back to back. Daniel Murphy singled in Werth. Then, in the fifth inning, Anthony Rendon singled following a Werth single and a Harper walk, which resulted in two more runs. Rendon was the last batter Colón faced.
It was 3-1 in favor of the Nationals heading into the seventh inning. In the top of the frame, the theme of the night continued. Antonio Bastardo plunked Ben Revere to start things off. Werth doubled to center field, but Revere didn’t get a great read off of the bat, so he ended up at third base. The Mets’ highlight of the night followed. Daniel Murphy drove the ball to deep center field for what looked to be a sure double. But Lagares made a phenomenal over the shoulder catch to record the out. Revere scored, but the catch prevented Werth from crossing home as well. At the time, the catch seemed well worth the run. It wasn’t going to give the Mets momentum, but as an observer, it at least felt like the inning was going to end on an exciting note.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 19, 2016
But the inning didn’t end for a while after that. Bastardo walked Ryan Zimmerman, putting runners on the corners. Terry Collins called on Logan Verrett in relief, who promptly walked Rendon, loading the bases. He also walked Danny Espinosa, which kept the bases loaded while also giving the Nationals a run. Verrett got out of the inning without allowing any more damage, but Lagares’ spectacular catch was an afterthought lost in the slog of walks. It was 5-1 after the seventh. The Nationals added two more in the ninth off of Jim Henderson (who walked one batter) to make it 7-1, which is how it ended.
The Mets and Nationals wrap up the series tomorrow at 7:10 p.m. Matt Harvey gets the start for the Mets and Stephen Strasburg gets the ball for the Nationals.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports