Washington, D.C.-The clock may be approaching midnight on the New York Mets' playoff dreams if they don't play well in the next 10 days. The Mets entered tonight's contest against the division leading Washington Nationals six games below .500 and at least seven games out of a playoff spot. That made the Mets' current 10 game divisional stretch, including six with Washington, critical to maintaining any playoff hope. The Mets (54-59) got off to a good start tonight as they beat the Nationals (60-51) 6-1.
The Mets grabbed an early lead in the top of the first as David Wright produced an RBI single to make it 1-0 in favor of the visitors. The Mets doubled their lead in the top of the second as a pop fly from Zack Wheeler dunked in front of Jayson Werth, allowing Travis d'Arnaud to motor on home and make it 2-0. Wheeler ran into some trouble in the bottom of the frame as he walked the bases loaded with one out, and then hurled a wild pitch to cut the Mets' lead to 2-1. Wheeler caught a huge break as Jose Lobaton hit a ground ball that struck runner Asdrubal Cabrera, recording the second out and preventing Ian Desmond from scoring the tying run. Gio Gonzalez would fly out to end the inning.
The Nats had another chance in the third, but a key double play from Jayson Werth ended their scoring threat. The score would remain the same until the top of the seventh, when the Mets loaded the bases with one out. Daniel Murphy hit what should have been an inning ending double play ball, but it got through for a two run single to put the Mets up 4-1. Two batters later, Lucas Duda delivered an RBI single to make it 5-1.
Wheeler (W, 7-8) ran into some more trouble in the bottom of the inning as he allowed the first two Nationals' hitters to reach base. Wheeler was able to induce a double play to leave one runner on third, and Josh Edgin came in to get Denard Span to end the threat. The Mets would tack on an insurance run in the top of the eighth as Kirk Nieuwenhuis delivered a pinch hit RBI single, making it 6-1 and closing out a crucial series opening win for the Amazin's.
Player of the Game:
Today's Player of the Game Award goes to Mets' starter Zack Wheeler. Wheeler didn't have his best stuff tonight, as he allowed seven hits and walked four over his 6.2 innings of work. Wheeler did, however, show some guts by limiting the damage to one run by inducing key double plays in the third and seventh innings.
Post Game Notes:
- Gio Gonzalez (L, 6-8) took the loss after allowing four runs in six innings of work. Gonzalez gave up six hits and walked two while striking out six.
- Daniel Murphy was the Mets' offensive hero, going 3 for 4 with a run scored and two RBI's.
- Eric Campbell didn't get a hit in the game, but he delivered a big defensive play by throwing out Jayson Werth at home in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Mets clinging to a 2-1 lead.
The Mets and Nationals will continue their three game series tomorrow night. Jonathon Niese (5-7, 3.24 ERA) and Doug Fister (10-3, 2.68 ERA) will be on the mound. First pitch at Nationals Park is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
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