WASHINGTON—One foot. One foot higher and Daniel Murphy’s two-out, ninth inning blast would have sailed into the Nationals’ bullpen to tie the game up. Instead, Jayson Werth reached out and robbed a surefire home run to end the Mets’ rally and preserve the victory for the Nationals by a score of 5-2.
The Nationals jumped all over the Mets’ starter, Jon Niese (L, 2-3, 2.54) in the first inning. Niese allowed the first three batters of the game to reach base, starting with a leadoff single by Denard Span. David Wright booted an Anthony Rendon grounder to put runners on first and second with no outs. Werth then singled to plate Span and give the Nats a 1-0 lead. A Wilson Ramos sac fly scored Rendon to put the Nationals up 2-0. Later in the inning, a Tyler Moore ground out gave the Nationals a 3-0 lead after one. Although he gave up three runs on the inning, Niese was only charged for one earned run, thanks to the Wright error.
Niese got into trouble again in the third. After retiring Werth to lead off the inning, Niese gave up a single to Ramos. Former Met Scott Hairston followed up with an RBI double to center to give the Nationals a 4-0 lead. Moore followed the Hairston double with an RBI single to give the Nats a 5-0 lead.
All told, Niese did not have his best stuff tonight but he battled to get through his four innings. His final line was five runs (three earned) on eight hits, two walks and two strikeouts over four innings.
His opponent, Tanner Roark (W, 3-1, 3.65 ERA) pitched well as he contained the Mets lineup over his five innings. He effectively changed speed with his pitches and was successfully able to keep Met hitters off balance by hitting his spots on both corners.
The Mets did their damage against Roark in the fifth inning. Back-to-back hits by Lucas Duda and Anthony Recker put runners on second and third with no outs. Ruben Tejada sored Duda on an RBI groundout. After Chris Young pinch hit for Niese and fouled out, Eric Young Jr. laced an RBI double to left to score Recker and bring the Mets within three runs at 5-2.
That would be as close as the Mets got as they had runners on first and second against Nationals’ closer, Rafael Soriano, with Murphy at the plate. He narrowly missed a game tying homer when he sent a belt-high inside fastball to right field. Werth calmly jumped up to catch the ball that was destined for the Nationals’ bullpen to secure the win for the Nationals.
The Mets and Nationals will head back out to Nats’ Park tomorrow afternoon. Bartolo Colon (2-5, 5.84 ERA) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.97) at 4:05 p.m. Its supposed to be a gorgeous day for baseball tomorrow in the nation’s capital.
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