Wednesday night’s game between the Nationals and Mets was the third and final game of the series. Nats ace Max Scherzer was pitted against spot-starter Logan Verrett who was replacing Steven Matz. Scherzer looked to complete the sweep against a team that is familiar with him. Coming into the game, outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson held .412 and .296 batting averages respectively against Scherzer.
The Nationals scored their first run after former Met Daniel Murphy turned on a hanging, inside curveball and hit it into the home bullpen in rightfield in the bottom of the second inning. Major League Baseball’s Statcast estimated the ball to have traveled 424 feet, the second longest homerun of the season. The Nats led 1-0 after the solo shot.
In the bottom half of the eighth frame, Murphy connected on a low, inside breaking ball for another hoemrun into the Nats’ bullpen. The homer scored Bryce Harper and the Nats led 4-0 heading into the top of the ninth inning.
Shawn Kelley was brought in to relieve Scherzer in the top of the eighth inning and stayed in to close. First baseman James Loney cut the Nats’ lead in half with a two-run dinger, making it a 4-2 game. Manager Dusty Baker kept Kelley in, who allowed one more baserunner to reach first, but immediately shut the door and completed the sweep.
The game was highlighted by Murphy’s continued his campaign to start in the All-Star Game and Scherzer’s dominance. In nine games against his former club, Murphy has batted .429, hit four homeruns, and driven in 11 runs. Scherzer earned his ninth victory and struck out 10 in the contest. In a true show of dominance, eight of his 10 K’s were swinging strikeouts. It was the seventh time this season that Scherzer has struck out 10 batters.
After sweeping the Mets, the Nationals host the Reds for a four-game series. In Thursday’s game, southpaw Gio Gonzalez will look to close out a difficult month of June with a redeeming performance. In June, Gonzalez has had a 7.12 ERA where opposing batters hit .300 against him. Along with Gonzalez, the Nats look to avenge a 2-1 series loss from earlier in June.
Manager Dusty Baker, left, relieves starter Max Scherzer, middle, after 7.1 innings of work. Scherzer struck 10 batters and gave up no runs in the outing.