Forty-eight hours after committing a major organizational faux pas, and one day following their epic loss to the Padres, the Mets karma had seemingly turned on a dime.
The most important series in the seven-year history of Citi Field opened Friday evening against the N.L. East leading Washington Nationals, whom arrived in Queens with a three game advantage over the Mets.
Jul 31, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets teammates give shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) a gatorade bath after his walk off home run during the twelfth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. New York Mets won 2-1 in twelve innings. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Citi Field already buzzed with anticipation over the evening’s match-up. The Dark Knight Matt Harvey climbed the hill for his 20th start of the season, and was opposed by Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. The crowd was further energized by the return of catcher Travis d’Arnaud and news that Sandy Alderson acquired left fielder and legitimate slugger Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers.
As anticipated, Harvey and Gonzalez dueled through the game’s first few innings, until Wilmer Flores‘ RBI single opened the scoring in the 4th.
Meanwhile, Matt Harvey remained perfect through 5.1 innings pitched. Despite threatened with runners in scoring position in the 6th and 7th innings, Harvey kept Washington scoreless.
He could not, however, fend them off in the 8th, as the Nats tied the game at one.
After a scoreless 9th, into extra innings they went.
The respective bullpens continued posting zeroes through the 11th inning.
Then, in the home 12th Wilmer Flores treated the remaining Citi Field crowd to a walk-off home run.
The Mets are now just 2 games out of first place.
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Mets Starting Lineup:
Matt Harvey retired the first three batters he faced.
Leading off the bottom of the frame, Curtis Granderson got the Mets first hit of the game.
- Through 3 innings pitched, Matt Harvey faced the minimum. He threw 39 pitches with 28 (72%) going for strikes, and averaged 13 pitches per. He allowed no runs, no hits, no walks, and fanned five batters.
With 2-outs in the bottom of the 4th, Gio Gonzalez issued back-to-back walks. Wilmer Flores then lined a base hit through short, Juan Uribe scored. Juan Lagares drew Gio Gonzalez‘ third walk of the inning, loading the bases. Next, Eric Campbell looked at a fastball for strike three, ending the threat.
- Matt Harvey was perfect through his first 15 batters faced, and was popping the gun at 97mph with 6 strikeouts.
Ruben Tejada got the Mets third hit of the game with 2-outs in the 5th. Daniel Murphy then doubled into the right field corner, which chased Gio Gonzalez from the game. But reliever Tanner Roark retired Juan Uribe, stranding two runners in scoring position.
With 1-out, catcher Jose Lobaton (hugging the Mendoza Line), finally got the first Nationals hit off Matt Harvey in the top of the 6th. With 2-outs, Second baseman Anthony Rendon followed with a bloop hit over Daniel Murphy into right, putting runners on the corners. But third baseman Yunel Escobar bounced into a force play at second to end Washington’s threat.
- Through 6 innings pitched, Matt Harvey faced two batters over the minimum. He threw an economical 81 pitches with 58 (72%) going for strikes. He allowed no runs on just 2 hits, walked none, and fanned 8 batters.
With 2-outs in the 8th inning, the Mets challenged pinch-hitter Clint Robinson being ruled hit by pitch by the home plate umpire. The call stood. Anthony Rendon then reached safely on an infield hit. With runners on first and second, Yunel Escobar singled up the middle off Harvey, tying the game at one.
- Matt Harvey – 7.2 innings, 1 earned run on 5 hits, no walks, with 9 strikeouts. He threw 109 pitches.
With 1-out in the top of the 9th, Clippard issued a walk to Ryan Zimmerman. He then issued a walk to shortstop Ian Desmond, prompting a double switch from Terry Collins. Out came Tyler Clippard and Juan Uribe; in came Jeurys Familia and Kelly Johnson (Murphy moved to third). Center fielder Michael Taylor fanned for the second out. Jose Lobaton flied to left ending yet another threat.
The Mets failed to score in the home 9th, and so into extra innings they went.
Carlos Torres struck out the side in the top of the 12th inning.
In the bottom of the 12th, Wilmer Flores finally seized the moment with a game winning home run into the Party City deck in left.
The victorious Mets partied at home plate!
- Bottom 4th inning: With 2-outs, Gio Gonzalez walked Juan Uribe and Travis d’Arnaud. Wilmer Flores singled, Uribe scored.
- Top 8th inning: With 2-outs, pinch hitter Clint Robinson was HPB. Anthony Rendon reached on an infield single. Yunel Escobar‘s single scored pinch runner Danny Espinosa.
- Bottom 12th inning: Walk-off home run by Wilmer Flores.
- Nationals 1; METS 2 (12 innings)
- The Mets acquired left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, 29, from the Detroit Tigers for minor league pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. In 102 games for Detroit this season, Yoenis slashed .293/.323/.506, with 28 doubles, 18 home runs and 61 RBI. He is expected to be in Saturday’s line-up.
- The newly endeared Wilmer Flores made a brilliant play in the 1st inning, diving to his left, which earned him a standing ovation from the crowd. When he stepped in for his first at-bat, the crowd gave him another. He broke a scoreless tie in the 4th with an RBI single. He won the game in the 12th with a home run to left, which earned him a water and Gatorade bath. After what he went through the other night, in addition to his suffered through an unfortunate situation thrust upon him at shortstop…., good for him!!
- Wilmer Flores, Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson, Hansel Robles, and Juan Lagares highlighted a fine defensive team effort.
- Matt Harvey painted the black with 97mph fastballs, and a 91mph change-up. He retired his first 16 batters to start the game. He allowed a pair of excuse me bloop hits over the head of Daniel Murphy playing first base, and seemed poise to finish off the Nationals, until the 8th inning that is. He nevertheless lowered his ERA from 3.16, to a 3.05 mark, and took a no-decision. It can be argued acquiring Yoenis Cespedes came just a day too late, for Harvey that is.
- The bullpen combined on 4.2 scoreless innings. They allowed no hits, 2 walks, and struck out 7 batters. Carlos Torres earned the win, improving his record to 4-4 on the season.
8/1 – Saturday, 7:10pm
Nationals @ METS