Game Recap: Nationals Play HR Derby By Themselves, Beat Mets 5-1

By Matt Musico

New York was hoping to knock Gio Gonzalez out of the game early to prevent him from getting his 19th win of the season and pulling ahead of R.A. Dickey for the league lead, but they weren’t able to put anything together the entire night, despite having plenty of chances to get closer. For the second straight start, Collin McHugh failed to reach the fifth inning.

Mets Offensive Highlights:

The lineup was once again anemic; even though they couldn’t get many hits off Gio Gonzalez, there were multiple opportunties for New York cash in, but they once again couldn’t get it done. Ruben Tejada and Ronny Cedeno both walked with two outs in front of David Wright in the third, but he struck out to end the threat. Scott Hairston led off the fourth with his 16th home run of the year, then Ike Davis walked before moving to third on Andres Torres‘ double. Justin Turner pinch hit for Collin McHugh, but he couldn’t drive them in. New York had another chance in the eighth against Drew Storen; Daniel Murphyand Wright led off with back-t0-back singles, but Hairston struck out and Davis grounded into an inning-ending double play to end the potential threat. This has become a nightly statement, but New York struggled with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-5 and stranding 7 men.

Sep 10, 2012; Flushing, NY,USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) celebrates his home run with left fielder Michael Morse (38) during the fourth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Nationals Offensive Highlights:

Washington turned on the power at Citi Field last night with the strength of their home run swings. First, it was Kurt Suzuki, who led off the third with his fifth home run of the season, going into the left field seats. Byrce Harper walked in front of Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a two-run bomb to straight away center field for a 3-0 lead. In the fourth, Michael Morse singled in front of Ian Desmond, who also homered. That was all the offense the Nats would need to get their MLB-leading 87th win of the season, as they cruised the rest of the night.

Pitching Highlights:

Like his last start against the Cardinals, McHugh lasted 4 innings, as he gave up 5 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts, while giving up 3 dingers. Elvin Ramirez came in to give Terry Collins two solid innings of relief, leaving the Nats scoreless while he struck out 4. Then, Ramon Ramirez followed with a scoreless inning of his own. Jeurys Familia continued to show impressive stuff, as Terry Collins stretched him out for 2 innings tonight, holding Washington scoreless and striking out 2.

Gio Gonzalez looked good again tonight, and although his control wasn’t there, he was able to wiggle out of jams when he needed to and get his 19th win. He threw 104 pitches in 6 innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 6. Ryan Mattheus relieved him by delivering a scoreless inning in the seventh. Drew Storen had some trouble starting the eighth off by giving up two singles, but was able to dispose the middle of the Mets order to hold them to one run. Tyler Clippard disposed of New York in order to shut the door on another game.

The loss is the fourth in a row for the Mets, as they now drop to 65-76 on the season. Ah, to be 46-40 and do it all over again.

Probable Pitchers Tuesday:

Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 2.99 ERA) heads to the hill to take on Cy Young hopeful R.A. Dickey (18-4, 2.64 ERA) as he continues his trek towards the 20-win plateau. First pitch in Flushing is set for 7:10pm.