After a 9-0 shutout and one-hitter last night, the Nats were certainly looking to pile on the Mets today. The pitching wasn’t quite as sharp, but the offense kept slugging and had another great day.
The Nats (75-69) appear to have been hitting the weight room recently, sending seven of their 11 base hits for extra bases as they beat up Dillon Gee and defeated the Mets (64-79), 6-3.
A Cincinnati loss leaves the Nats six games out of the last Wild Card spot, a deficit that is not insurmountable but would be quite difficult to come back from. However, crazier things have happened in baseball.
The Nats’ offensive showing began early on. Of the first five Nats to come to bat, two homered. With two outs in the first, Jayson Werth sent his 23rd blast deep off of Dillon Gee, who entered today’s game 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA in five starts against the Nats this year. Leading off the second, Adam LaRoche did the same, putting the Nats on top 2-0.
After two hitless innings from Jordan Zimmermann, the Nats struck again in the third on two more extra base hits. Denard Span extended his 21-game hit streak with a leadoff double, and one out later, Werth drove him in with a double of his own to put the Nats up 3-0.
An Omar Quintanilla single in the third broke up the no-hitter, and the Mets got on the board for the first time in this series with two more hits in the fourth, cutting the Nats’ lead to 3-1.
Back-to-back scoreless innings for Zimmermann and Gee provided a brief respite from the action, but the teams were right back at it in the sixth. Werth doubled again, and was driven in by a pair of singles that restored the Nats’ three-run lead.
Zimmermann yielded three straight hits in the bottom of the sixth, the third of which drove in two runs and suddenly made the game much too close for comfort at 4-3. Craig Stammen entered in relief and quickly retired three Mets to wiggle out of the jam.
In the top of the seventh, Zach Walters’ second career major league hit was a single that knocked Gee from the game. Suddenly, both teams’ bullpens locked down and neither yielded another run until the top of the ninth, when Scott Hairston hit a pinch-hit two-run homer off of Tim Byrdak, tripling the Nats’ advantage to 6-3. With a much more comfortable cushion, Rafael Soriano polished off the Mets in the bottom of the ninth to earn his 40th save.
After winning the series’ first two games, the Nats will attempt to clinch a series win tomorrow in game three of four. Dan Haren (8-13, 5.23) will face off against wunderkind Zach Wheeler (7-4, 3.38).