The Washington Nationals finally beat Dillon Gee for the first time in four opportunities against the New York Mets' 27-year-old right-hander this season back on July 27th in the nation's capital, scoring four runs on Gee in seven innings in a 4-1 win, after he'd allowed just two earned runs in three starts and 18 2/3 IP against the defending NL East Division Champions in 2013 before that outing. Gee had still pretty much dominated NY's NL East rivals from D.C. over his first four years in the majors, however, and in his next start against the Nats after that late July loss, he held them to two runs on six hits in 7 2/3 IP in a 3-2 win in Nationals Park. Before tonight's game in Citi Field, the '07 21st Round pick was (7-2) in 11 starts against the Nationals, with a 2.80 ERA, 22 walks (2.80 BB/9) and 51 Ks (6.50 K/9) in 70 2/3 IP against Washington.
With Gee on the hill, tonight's game looked like trouble for the nearly-eliminated-from-contention Nationals. Plus, Jordan Zimmermann, 27, who was starting the second game of four for the Nats in New York, had been unable to beat the Mets so far this season, going (0-3) in four starts with a 3.29 ERA, eight walks (2.63 BB/9) and 22 Ks (7.24 K/9) in 27 1/3 IP against the Nats' divisional rivals. Of course, he received just five runs total in support in those four outings before tonight's game. In his career, the '07 2nd Round pick out of Auburndale, Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Stevens Point was just (3-5) with a 3.09 ERA, 20 walks (2.06 BB/9) and 72 Ks (7.42 K/9) in 87 1/3 IP against New York and (2-2) with a 3.35 ERA, 10 walks (2.39 BB/9) and 36 Ks (8.60 K/9) in 37 2/3 IP in Flushing, Queens, NY's Citi Field.
The suddenly hot-hitting (74-69) Nationals picked up where they left off last night early in Citi Field tonight, with right fielder Jayson Werth hitting the sixth home run of the series for the Nats and his 23rd of the season out to left and into the Party City Deck on a 1-0 fastball from Gee with two down in the top of the first to give Washington a 1-0 lead after a half an inning in NY. Given a lead to work with, Jordan Zimmermann took the mound and retired the Mets in order in an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the first.
Adam LaRoche hit an 0-1 fastball from Gee out to left field for his 19th home run of 2013 in the first at bat of the Nats' second inning, making it a 2-0 game. Tyler Moore doubled over Juan Lagares' head in right for a one-out double, his eighth of 2013, but he was stranded at third two outs later. Zimmermann missed with a 3-2 change and walked Matt den Dekker to give the Mets their first baserunner with two down in the home-half of the inning. den Dekker stole second with Travis D'Arnaud up, but New York's rookie catcher's groundout to first ended the Nationals' right-hander's second scoreless inning after 20 pitches. 28 overall.
Denard Span stretched his hit-streak to 21 games with a double to right to start the third in his second at bat tonight. Span's 27th two-base hit of 2013 left him 35 for 85 (.412 AVG) over the course of his streak, and one out later he scored on a Jayson Werth double to left to make it 3-0 Nationals after two and a half in Citi Field. Omar Quintanilla singled to start the Mets' third and took second when Dillon Gee bunted him over/gave up an out. Eric Young lined to center for out no.2. A wild pitch moved to Quintanilla to third with two down, but a 2-2 fastball inside got Juan Lagares looking to end a 13-pitch inning after which Jordan Zimmermann was up to 41.
The Nationals went down in order in the top of the fourth. Daniel Murphy improved to 12 for 37 (.324 AVG) with four doubles and three home runs in 38 plate appearances against Jordan Zimmermann with a two-base hit to right to start the bottom of the inning that bounced over the wall and into the Mo Zone. MODELL'S! One out later, with Murphy on third, Justin Turner singled through short to drive in New York's first run in 12 1/3 innings so far in the current series. Zimmermann's 19-pitch fourth had him up to 60 after four.
A seven-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth had Dillon Gee up to 62 pitches. Eric Young sent Zimmermann's 65th pitch through short for a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. Adam LaRoche failed to catch a pick attempt that got by first and allowed Young to take second and then third when LaRoche's throw hit the runner and bounced past second base, Juan Lagares popped out on the first pitch he saw for the second out of the frame though, and Daniel Murphy popped up on a 2-0 change to end the Mets' half of the fifth. Nine-pitch inning. 69 overall.
Jayson Werth hit a 2-1 fastball to the right-center gap for his third hit in three at bats and his second double of the game in the first at bat of the sixth. Werth took third on an Ian Desmond single through short, but Desmond was caught trying to steal his 20th base of the season with Adam LaRoche up and LaRoche grounded out to the infield on a 3-2 pitch to make it two quick outs with Werth still on third, but Wilson Ramos improved to 36 for 85 (.424 AVG) career vs the Mets with a two-out RBI single through short that made it 4-1 Nationals after five and a half.
Lucas Duda singled to right and Justin Turner doubled off the Citi Bank sign in center field, just inches from a home run, in the first two at bats of the Mets' sixth. Jordan Zimmermann was up to 81 pitches when he got a visit from pitching coach Steve McCatty. Zimmermann's 85th and final pitch of the night was lined over short by Matt den Dekker for a two-run single that made it a 4-3 game in Citi Field. Craig Stammen took over for Zimmermann and with help from a CS by Wilson Ramos, got three outs and preserved the Nationals' lead.
Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 85 P, 54 S, 4/5 GO/FO.
Nats' rookie Zach Walters was 2 for 2 in the majors after he singled to right with one down in the seventh, ending Dillon Gee's night, but Walters was doubled up on a grounder to short that started a 6-4-3 inning-ending DP for Pedro Feliciano after the lefty took over for Gee. Drew Storen took the mound in the bottom of the inning and gave up a one-out walk to Eric Young, but Wilson Ramos caught Young trying to steal second for the second out of the inning and his second caught stealing tonight. After a two-out walk to Juan Lagares, a fly to center by Daniel Murphy ended a scoreless 19-pitch seventh for Storen.
Tyler Clippard came on for the bottom of the eighth after Mets' right-hander Vic Black threw a scoreless top of the inning. Clippard threw a 2-2 fastball by Josh Satin up high. Matt den Dekker flew out to the warning track in front of the XEROX sign in right for the final out of a nine-pitch eighth inning by Clippard. 4-3 Nats after eight.
Adam LaRoche singled to start the ninth. After Frank Francisco struck Wilson Ramos out, Tim Byrdak took over for New York. Davey Johnson went with Scott Hairston over Corey Brown and made the right call. Hairston hit the first pitch he saw out to left for a two-run home run and a 6-3 Nats' lead after eight and a half...
Cue his music:
"Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano took over in the bottom of the ninth looking for save no.40 of 2013. Travis D'Arnaud hit an opposite field single to right to start the Mets' half of the inning. Omar Quintanilla popped out to third. ONE! Mike Baxter flew out to left! TWO!! Eric Young? Pop to short. Ballgame.
Work's done! Untuck that jersey, son!!!
Nationals now 75-69