Looking to get a series sweep and four wins in a row, the Mets faced the Nationals on Sunday night. The Mets sent out Jonathon Niese to face the Nats’ Ross Ohlendorf. Despite the Mets 13 hits, the fell with a less than stellar bullpen by a score of 6-5.
It did not take long for the Mets to jump on the board, as they scored two batters into the game. Eric Young, Jr. laced a double to right and was followed with another double, this time by Daniel Murphy. Two batters later Lucas Duda made it a 2-0 game with a single to right, driving home Murphy. Travis d’Arnaud killed the rally with a double play to end the inning.
Niese came out in the first and shut down the Nats and induced a double play of Ryan Zimmeran to end the inning.
The Mets added on in the second when Matt den Dekker hit his first career home run into the second deck in right field, making it a 3-0 game early.
In the fourth the Nats got on the board again with a Scott Hairston single, making it a 3-2 game. Despite getting hit hard in the inning, Niese evaded more trouble in the inning.
Niese would help his own cause in the next half when he doubled to lead off the fifth. He moved up on a Young sacrifice bunt and scored on Daniel Murphy’s single. It was Murphy’s second RBI of the game.
With first and second and two out in the bottom half it looked as if the Nats were poised to tie up the game. Den Dekker tracked down a fly ball from Wilson Ramos at the wall, though and the game stayed 4-2.
In the seventh the Mets added to their lead when Young scored on a Duda hit to left field, making it a 5-2 lead over the Nats. Despite the run, the Mets did experience a little bad news when Niese left the game with a leg cramp.
Scott Atchison, who got one out in the sixth came on for the seventh inning and got two quick outs. Despite the first two outs, he struggled and gave up a single to Ian Desmond and uncorked two wild pitches, allowing him to advance to third. Wilson Ramos singled Desmond in from third to make it a 5-3 game. Atchison did strike out Moore to end the threat and keep the Mets’ lead intact.
The Nationals in the eighth faced Scott Rice and got to him immediately. He struggled and gave up a run, leading to the Mets bringing in Gonzalez Germen. He came in and promptly gave up the one run lead, as the Nats scored on an infield hit by Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman then scored from first on a double by Jason Werth and the Nats held a 6-5 lead.
- Jon Niese did not have his best stuff tonight, and gave up 10 hits in his 5.2 innings pitched. The one thing he did well was evade the big inning. He had runners on base in every inning, but worked out of the worst of it. A very gritty performance.
- Daniel Murphy continues to be a hot hitter at the plate, and drove in two more runs. With Wright hurt and Byrd gone, Murphy has stepped up well lately.
- Matt den Dekker broke through with his first homer of his career, and absolute bomb into the right field second deck. He did look a little shakey on a ball hit to center field, and Juan Lagares slid over to fill that spot later in the game.
- The Mets bullpen of Atchison, Rice and Germen blew a three run lead and allowed four runs to score in 2.1 innings of work.
A game that started out very promising and exciting, ended in absolute disaster. Niese clearly did not have his best stuff, but worked his best to avoid a big inning. He pitched around a lot of trouble and kept the Mets in the game.
Early the offense was clicking and Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda were stellar at the plate, with each driving in two runs.
It was nice to see den Dekker get that first homer, hopefully a sign of things to come in the future.
The bullpen pitched like it did earlier in the season, something that isn’t obviously something everyone wants to see. They virtually gave the game to the Nats in the final innings, after the Mets’ offense hit their fair share. Nonetheless, the Mets did take two out of three, which was nice to see after this week’s events.
The Mets will next head to Atlanta to face the first place Braves in a matinee affair. The Mets will send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the hill to face the Braves’ Paul Maholm. Matsuzaka is seeking his first win as a Met and this season.