Leadoff man Denard Span spared himself and fans of hit streaks any suspense tonight by singling to left field in his first at bat against New York Mets' starter Zack Wheeler. Span extended his career-best hit streak to 22 games over which the 29-year-old Washington Nationals' outfielder was 36 for 88 (.409 AVG) after the hit. Jayson Werth was 6 for 10 with three doubles and two home runs after a one-out, two-base hit in the top of the first inning. Wheeler, 23, the San Francisco Giants' '09 1st Round pick acquired by the Mets along with cash for Carlos Beltran in a July 2011 trade, struck the next two batters out, getting Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond swinging to end a 17-pitch opening frame in Citi Field.
Dan Haren, 32, who gave up 15 hits and 12 runs, all earned in two starts and 5 2/3 IP in his last two outings, one of them against the Mets in D.C., threw a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the first tonight in NY.
Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos started tonight's game against the Mets with a .419/.446/.744 line, 36 hits in 86 at bats with 10 doubles and six home runs in the first 26 games of the 26-year-old catcher's career against the Nationals' NL East rivals. Ramos was one of three Nats' batters to go down in order in a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the second for Zack Wheeler. 36 for 87. Lucas Duda took a late-breaking 0-2 four-seamer for a called strike three and the first out of the Mets' second, and Haren pitched around a one-out walk for a scoreless 18-pitch second. 31 pitches. 0-0 after two.
Wheeler was up to 35 pitches after completing a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 third inning. Dan Haren had retired nine of ten Mets' batters tonight after he set Ruben Tejada, Wheeler and Eric Young down in order in an 11-pitch third inning that had him up to 42 pitches.
Bryce Harper beat a throw by Mets' third baseman Josh Satin to first for an infield single with one out in the top of the fourth, then took second on a passed ball and third on an Ian Desmond groundout. Adam LaRoche K'd swinging for the second time in two at bats, however, chasing a 1-2 slider out of the zone to end a 13-pitch fourth by Wheeler. NY outfielder Juan Lagares singled through short to end Dan Haren's nascent no-hit bid after three innings in the first at bat of the Mets' fourth, and Lagares stole second with two down, but Josh Satin took a 1-2 change for a called strike three on Haren's 57 pitch of the night. Four scoreless. 0-0 in NY.
Anthony Rendon lined a 94 mph 2-0 fastball back up the middle for a one-out single in the top of the fifth, then took second when Dan Haren bunted him over/gave up an out. Denard Span battled Zack Wheeler for nine pitches, fouling off three two-strike pitches before taking a backdoor 3-2 curve for a called strike three. Nice pitch, Wheeler. 16-pitch inning for the Mets' rookie starter. 64 after five. Haren was up to 72 after a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth. Still 0-0 in Citi Field.
Zack Wheeler hadn't surrendered a home run in 36 innings going back to the seventh inning of an August 10th start against Arizona before Ryan Zimmerm-- THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! hit a hanging 0-2 slider into the PartyCity.com Deck in left field for leadoff blast in the top of the sixth. Ryan Zimmerman's 22nd home run of the year was his second in the series in New York and his fifth in his last 20 at bats, over which he was 5 for 20. Wheeler out two on with two out, but escaped further damage when he got Wilson Ramos to fly to right to end the Nats' sixth. 1-0 Nationals.
Dan Haren threw a full-count cutter by Juan Lagares up high to end a 10-pitch, two-out at bat in a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth inning against the Mets. 86 overall.
Haren's line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 87 P, 60 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
Zack Wheeler gave up a one-out single by pinch hitter Steve Lombardozzi in the top of the seventh. Denard Span grounded into a force at second in the next at bat, and went first-to-third on an opposite field single to right by Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman stole second with Jayson Werth at bat, but Werth grounded out to third to end the inning with the score still 1-0 Nats. 101 pitches for Wheeler.
Xavier Cedeno started the bottom of the seventh against Mets' left-handers Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda and retired the two batters before handing the ball to Drew Storen. Josh Satin took a 2-2 sinker from Storen through the left side of the infield for a two-out single, but Matt den Dekker lined out to Denard Span in center to end the seventh with the score still 1-0 Nats.
Bryce Harper K'd swinging to start the eighth, but both Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche singled off Mets' right-hander Vic Black to put two on with one out for Wilson Ramos. Ramos popped unproductively to Daniel Murphy behind first for out no.2, but Anthony Rendon doubled to the base of the left field wall and the Nationals took a 3-0 lead when both Desmond and LaRoche scored. 3-0 after seven and a half. Tyler Clippard popped up Travis D'Arnaud. A 1-2 fastball got Ruben Tejada swinging. Mike Baxter flew out to deep right. 3-0 Nats after eight.
LaTroy Hawkins retired the Nationals in order in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.
Cue his music:
"Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth looking for his 41st save of 2013. Eric Young popped out to short. ONE! Juan Lagares bunted toward third for a single. Daniel Murphy popped out to shallow left field. TWO!! Lagares took second on defensive indifference with Lucas Duda at the plate, but Duda K'd swinging at a 2-2 slider inside to end it. Ballgame. Five straight.
Work's done. Untuck that jersey, son!!
Nationals now 76-69