By Stephanie Judge
The Nationals fell to the Mets for the second time in the three game series at Nationals Park this afternoon in Washington DC. Left-handed pitcher Steven Matz led the Mets to their 2-0 victory allowing only four hits over eight innings. Nationals pitcher, Tanner Roark allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings.
The Nationals got into trouble early in the first inning when David Wright got a good piece of Roark’s fastball and launched a left center tater over the wall. The home run marked Wright’s second of the series and his sixth overall for the season. The Mets scored again in the seventh inning when second baseman Daniel Murphy let an easy ball from Eric Campbell go under his glove, putting runners on both first and third rather than providing an easy double play for the Nationals. The error positioned Rene Rivera who lobbed a fly ball to left field allowing an effortless RBI and game winner for the Mets.
While the Nationals pitching was solid, offensively, they just could not gain any traction against the Mets. In fact, Matz retired 16 batters from the third through the eighth innings. With only six hits, four came in the ninth inning after Jeurys Familia took over the mound. Familia allowed consecutive singles from Jayson Werth and Murphy putting the Nationals in scoring position for the first time before dashing the opportunity after a strike out from Ryan Zimmerman, and ground ball outs from Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos to end the game.
Bryce Harper, who has not had a hit in his last three games, took Wednesday off as a “mental health day”. Chris Heisy played right field and took over Harper’s place in the lineup. He did pinch hit in the eighth inning but was retired by Matz.
National’s batting coach Rick Schu was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing strikes and balls with the umpire in the fifth inning after Chris Heisy’s strike out. Schu appeared to be covering for Heisy who was unhappy with the umpire’s high and broad strike zone.
Despite Wednesday’s loss, the Nationals remain a half game up on the Mets, leading the National League East with 28 wins. This is only the second series the Nationals have dropped at Nats Park, the first being from the Phillies, April 26-28. The Nationals begin four game series on Thursday against the Cardinals.