Shrimp for Everyone! Nats beat Shorthanded Mets 4-3 in Extras

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Photo: @Nationals

By Matthew Jacobson

I hate the Mets. I hate their players, their jerseys, their management, their stadium, and most of all, I hate their loudmouthed, indignant fans. So when the Nationals defeated the Mets last night, it made me smile almost as much as a Justin Williams game-winning overtime goal.

Bryce Harper continued his absolute tear to begin this season, hitting a two-run home run off Mets starter Matt Harvey in the first inning after Wilmer Difo was hit in the back of the head with a fastball.

The Mets responded in their half of the inning with a Michael Conforto solo homer off Tanner Roark. The back-and-forth would be a bit of a theme throughout this game, as following a Curtis Granderson game-tying single in the fourth, Jose Lobaton mashed a solo home run on a 1-2 fastball to deep center field. Granderson, another noted Nat killer, responded in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run of his own. Both teams would come close, but eventually, no one would score in the allotted nine innings, so we would need extras.

Both pitchers surrendered early bumps but looked solid overall. Roark went 6.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking three. Harvey went seven innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits (two of which were home runs). Harvey only struck out two Nationals while walking two as well. From there, the battle of the bullpens was relatively even. The Nationals turned to Oliver Perez, who is very quietly having the best season of any National reliever. Perez recorded four outs, including two strikeouts. Joe Blanton got into some trouble with a couple walks, but was able to work around it in the bottom of the ninth. For the Mets, it was former National Jerry Blevins and former Diamondback closer Addison Reed each throwing scoreless frames to get us to extra innings. The Nats went down quietly against Josh Smoker in the tenth, and the Mets went down loudly in their half against Enny Romero.

Smoker stayed in the game to begin the eleventh, but following a Harper double and intentional walk to Daniel Murphy, Smoker’s evening was over. New York turned to their closer, Jeurys Familia, which they later would probably regret. Following a wild pitch with Anthony Rendon in the batter’s box, Harper bolted to third base. It was a close play which the Mets challenged, but Harper was initially ruled safe, and the call was upheld by the umpires. Rendon walked on six pitches, bringing up Trea Turner for the first time in a few weeks. Wouldn’t we all want to be Trea Turner in that situation? Bases loaded, one out against a divisional foe? In arguably the biggest at-bat of the season, Turner walked on four pitches, scoring Harper (who would have moved to third on the Rendon walk anyway) and giving the Nationals a 4-3 lead.

Familia would settle down and get the final two outs. Shawn Kelley came on for his second save opportunity as Nationals closer, and he slammed the door shut, getting a groundout, flyout, and strikeout in that order to end the game and preserve the victory.

It was nice, despite the game going to extra innings, to see the bullpen perform this well in this big of a game. Like I mentioned in my previous article, Shawn Kelley looks right for the closer’s job, and likely lost it in camp due to his injury history. Ryan Zimmerman was given the night off, allowing Adam Lind to play first base. Jayson Werth missed his second consecutive game battling an injury. Hopefully that isn’t too serious. Big win for the boys in red (grey?). They look for a series win today at 4:05 at Citi Field. Gio Gonzalez looks to continue his excellent start to the season against Jacob DeGrom.

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