After a lopsided loss on Monday, the Nationals bounced back decisively with a 7-4 win over the Mets, bringing their first place lead back to a game and a half over this evening’s opponents. Stephen Strasburg improved to 8-0 in yet another win over Mets ace Matt Harvey, who has lost his previous two starts to Strasburg in rather large margins of defeat.
The first run of Tuesday’s contest came from former Nat Asdrubal Cabrera, who scorched his third homerun off a 2-1 heater from Strasburg in the top of the fourth inning. Previous to Cabrera’s homrun, Strasburg had retired the first 10 batters of the game. In the bottom half of the frame, Washington quickly responded as first baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit his sixth long ball on the season. The deep shot came off of a hanging breaking ball from Harvey, who showed continual problems from the rest of the season. One batter later, third baseman Anthony Rendon sent a breaking ball identical to Zimmerman’s homerun pitch also into the left field seats.
The following inning, outfielder Ben Revere continued his recent tear at the plate with a double. He moved to third base after fellow outfielder Jayson Werth singled to left field and then scored off right fielder Bryce Harper’s deep sacrifice fly out to center field. Harper collected his 30th RBI with the sac fly. One batter later, second baseman Daniel Murphy continued his MVP-caliber tirade with a towering homerun to the second deck in right field, scoring Werth. Harvey was pulled after clawing his way out of the disastrous bottom of the sixth with the Nationals leading 5-1.
The Metropolitans scored their second run on a fielder’s choice and attempted double play off the bat of infielder Eric Campbell. The Nats challenged that second baseman Neil Walker interfered with shortstop Danny Espinosa’s relay throw to first base. The call, or lack thereof, was upheld and center fielder Yoenis Cespedes’ run counted.
With a three run cushion, and after 11 punch-out’s in 6 2/3 innings of work, Strasburg’s night ended and was replaced by reliever Felipe Rivero. The bottom of the seventh inning saw Revere continued to show his characteristic offensive prowess with an uncharacteristic solo homerun to the Nats’ bullpen in right field. It was his first homerun of the year and his fifth of his entire career.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, backstop Wilson Ramos muscled a 1-0, one out pitch into the visitors bullpen in deep left field. It was the Nationals’ record fifth homerun in the game. The longball from the strong catcher scored the Nats’ seventh and final run of the game.
The Mets would tack on two more runs in the top of the ninth, but otherwise, the Nats’ bullpen was effective and carried the load after Strasburg’s fine outing. Strasburg had, for the second straight start, out-dueled Harvey. His era is now a mere 2.87, while Harvey’s continues to climb to 6.08 on his unimpressive 3-7 record. Strasburg improved to a staggering 8-0 on the season after the 7-4 win.
The Nats look to maintain this offensive momentum from the longball and Revere’s offensive production in tomorrow’s matinee. Pitcher Tanner Roark takes the hill and squares off against Mets young stud Steven Matz at 1:05 p.m.