By Michael Marzzacco
The Nationals struggled to solve Mets ace Noah Syndergaard but rallied in the ninth to force extra innings before ultimately falling short to the New York Mets Tuesday night at Nationals Park. The Mets, with a lot more to play for, remain in the second Wild Card spot just a half game behind San Francisco. The Nationals remain nine games ahead of the Mets and their magic number to clinch stands at nine.
The Nats did get one run off of Syndergaard in the second inning with an RBI double by Wilson Ramos into right field that scored Bryce Harper. In the third the Mets tied it on an RBI single by T.J. Rivera. It was the first of three runs on the night that Rivera drove in, the third being the dagger in the 10th inning.
The Mets pulled out in front in the fifth with an RBI triple down the right field line by Curtis Granderson that scored Yoenis Cespedes. Rivera drove in his second run of the night with a sacricie fly to center fielder Trea Turner that scored Granderson.
The Nationals bats were silent against the man that Mets fans call “Thor”. Syndergaard struck out 10 batters. Trea Turner finished 0-for-5, striking out twice. Syndergaard struck out Danny Espinosa in the fifth for Syndergaard’s 200th strikeout on the season.
In the ninth they woke up against one of the best closers in baseball, Jeurys Familia. Daniel Murphy led off with a single. Harper reached second base after an error by third baseman Jose Reyes to first went past first baseman James Loney into the stands. With runners on second and third with no outs, Anthony Rendon drove Murphy home with a base hit past a diving Reyes just under his glove. Wilson Ramos followed with a chopper off the glove of Familia that scored Harper to tie the game. Familia got out of the inning with a line out by Ryan Zimmerman and Clint Robinson grounding into a double play. It was his fourth blown save of the season.
In the 10th the Mets took the lead for good with Rivera’s first big league home run. It came off of Nats closer Mark Melancon and landed into the left field seats. In the bottom of the inning, with Jayson Werth on first, Murphy struck out to end the game. This was a rare occasion where he didn’t haunt his former team.
Today is the 19th and final meeting between the Nats and the Mets this season. Murphy aims to have a hit in all 19 games against his former team, he needs just one more this afternoon. Tanner Roark (14-8, 2.85 ERA) will take the ball for Washington while New York will counter with Robert Gsellman (2-1, 3.92 ERA). First pitch from DC is at 4:05.