Mets Bats Explode In 11-6 Victory Over Nationals

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FLUSHING, NY, August 12th – The New York Mets hit three home runs and the bullpen pitched seven strong innings en route to an 11-6 victory over the Washington Nationals. Both starting pitchers were bad in this game combining to throw four and two-thirds innings giving up eight runs on 10 hits. The Mets are 8-11 on the season, three and a half games behind the first-place Miami Marlins. The Nationals at 6-8 are three games out of first.

Crazy First Inning

Trea Turner doubled leading off the game and was followed by an infield single by Adam Eaton. After a Starlin Castro fly out Juan Soto deposited a Robert Gsellman pitch deep into the rightfield bleachers giving the Nationals a 3-0 lead. Gsellman, who hadn’t thrown a pitch since last August 11th, and was making his first start since September 27th, 2017 was understandingly rusty.

In the bottom of the inning, the Mets answered the Nationals in a big way. Brandon Nimmo led off the inning hitting a home run to rightfield off the Chick-Fil-A sign. This was the fifth career leadoff home run for Nimmo. Nationals starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez retired the next two Mets batters but hit Michael Conforto on a 2-2 pitch. The Mets would string together three straight hits to take the lead 4-3. Pete Alonso doubled in Conforto. Dominic Smith doubled in Alonso and Andres Gimenez singled in Smith.

Mets Bullpen Takes Over

Gsellman, who was on a low pitch count would only last two innings. After allowing three runs on four hits in the first, Gsellman pitched a clean second inning. If not for Nimmo’s defense, Gsellman would have blown the lead. Kurt Suzuki hit a high drive to centerfield. Nimmo tracked it down by robbing what would have been a home run by Suzuki to keep the game at 4-3. Chasen Shreve pitched a scoreless third inning followed by two scoreless frames by Jeurys Familia.

Familia is not usually asked to throw two innings but this was now a bullpen game for the Mets. In his two innings, Familia gave up one hit, one walk, and one hit batter with four strikeouts. Familia’s first inning was easy as he threw 10 pitches. It’s noteworthy that Familia, who is not used to pitching more than one inning, threw 28 pitches in his second inning.

Sanchez also had an easy second inning but ran into trouble in the third. After back to back one-out walks to Alonso and Smith, Sanchez was able to get Gimenez to swing at the first pitch, popping out to first basemen Eric Thames. Wilson Ramos had a clutch two-out RBI single extending the Mets lead to 5-3. That would end Sanchez’s night with two and two-thirds innings pitched giving up five runs on six hits and two walks. But the Nationals bullpen pitched well for the next two and one-third innings.

Sam Freeman pitched two-thirds of an inning before leaving with an injury and was replaced by Kyle Finnegan. Finnegan was very good pitching one and two-thirds innings allowing only one walk.

Explosive Sixth Inning

With LHP Justin Wilson now pitching for the Mets, Soto continued to torment the Mets by hitting a solo home run to left-centerfield. After the Soto homerun Wilson would retire the next three Nationals batters. The Nationals would replace Finnegan with Ryne Harper. Harper had some bad luck with shoddy Nationals defense before the Mets bats blew the game open. Luis Guillorme walked leading off the inning. Nimmo was up next and he dropped a bunt down the third base line with the Nationals defense shifted to the right side of the field.

Harper bore down and struck out J.D. Davis and got Jeff McNeil to fly out to center. Harper was one out away from getting out of this jam. The next batter was Conforto and this was perhaps the biggest play of the game. Conforto hit a line drive to right field. Nationals right fielder Adam Eaton misjudged the ball and it sailed over his head scoring both Guillorme and Nimmo. Alonso hit a towering home run to left field scoring Conforto. Dominic Smith went back to back with Alonso by homering to right field. This was the first time this season the Mets have hit back to back home runs. But more importantly, the Mets were leading the Nationals 10-4.

Cruise to Victory

From this point, the Mets cruised through the next three innings. Dellin Betances pitched a perfect seventh inning by striking out the side. Drew Smith and the returning Brad Brach pitched the last two innings each allowing a solo home run. The Mets bullpen was solid again on Wednesday allowing six hits and one walk with ten strikeouts over seven innings.

After the game, Gsellman talked about his first appearance in over a year. “Man, I was so nervous, I felt like a little kid again. To go through your proper warmup, your routine that you knew since you were in high school … it felt good to go through that.”

 

Injury Notes

Shortstop Amed Rosario missed his second straight game with a stomach illness. He was available to come off the bench if needed. Robinson Cano is eligible to come off the injured list on Friday. The Mets have not said if Cano will be ready to play on Friday. Infielder Jed Lowrie will have a series of platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections into his left knee in hopes of playing this season.

Inside the Boxscore

The Mets middle of the lineup had huge games. Conforto, Alonso, and Smith combined to go 7-11 with two homers, eight RBI, and eight runs scored. J.D. Davis started his eighth straight game at third base. Michael Conforto has reached base safely in every game this season. Mets manager Luis Rojas keeps tinkering with the batting order with Pete Alonso batting fifth for the first time this season.

What’s Next

The Mets look to even the series on Thursday with rookie David Peterson (2-1, 3.78) on the hill. The Nationals will counter with Austin Voth (0-0, 1.80). The game time is 1:10 PM.

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