Game recap July 14: The new old Zack Wheeler

Mets 7, Nationals 3

The Mets pitching staff continued its streak of dominant outings Saturday, this time behind a 7.2-inning performance from right-hander Zack Wheeler.

While the starting rotation has been incredible throughout much of the season, the team has routinely wasted brilliant performances from almost every member of the staff (we’re looking at you, Jason Vargas). Things seem to have changed for the better recently, as the bullpen and the bats propelled the Mets to a four-win week.

Wheeler got some run support early, as Austin Voth allowed three straight singles to load the bases in the second. Offensive powerhouse Amed Rosario ripped a single to right field that brought home Wilmer Flores and put the Mets ahead 1-0.

Next up was Wheeler, who helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Kevin Plawecki. An RBI groundout from Brandon Nimmo increased the lead to three.

Neither team would score until the home half of the fifth, when Michael Conforto hit his 11th home run of the season. The three-run blast was the only hit of the day for Conforto, but he certainly made it count.

Jose Reyes also added an RBI single in the inning, quite possibly his biggest contribution of the season thus far.

Wheeler was efficient with his pitch count all afternoon and earned the right to head back out for the eighth inning. Trouble found him quickly though — and with no help from Reyes — and a two-run blast off the bat of Matt Adams knocked Wheeler out of the game. His final line wasn’t indicative of the effort he gave the Mets, and Wheeler has been quite the pleasant surprise after beginning the season in Las Vegas.

Anthony Swarzak recorded an out to lower his ERA to 6.32 and Jeurys Familia picked up his 17th save of the season. Familia’s looked better as of late, which could be a boon to his trade value.

The Mets have a chance to win a series for the first time since the middle of May on Sunday. Corey Oswalt will start against Jeremy Hellickson in the series finale at Citi Field.

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