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New York Mets at Washington Nationals: Game Report..."Mets 9 Nationals 3. New York Fans Celebrate Sweep In DC. Really. They’re Everywhere! Outnumbering The DC Faithful."

HEADLINE...

Mets Complete Sweep. 

What guarantee? In front of an enthusiastic New York crowd in the nation's capital, the Mets completed the sweep of the three games series against the Nationals with a 9-3 win. DC starter Collin Balester (L, 2-5, 5.06 ERA) gives up 4 hits, 5 runs, 5 walks and 2 HR's, strikes out 3 in 6 innings. New York lefty Oliver Perez (W, 9-7, 3.91 ERA) throws six scoreless before giving up three in the bottom of the seventh when the Nationals finally put some runs on the board:(From Full Game Report)...

..."Intergalactic”, by the beastie boys, is cued up...Pinch Hittin’ Pete Orr steps in with two on and two down...and triples off the out-of-town scoreboard in right to drive in two runs to make it 5-2 NY. Emilio Bonifacio bunts, and sneaks by Delgado, who drops the ball, allowing Orr to score, 5-3 Metsies..."

That was as close as the Nationals got. The Mets score four off "Wild" Joel Hanrahan in the ninth to put it out of reach...Washington loses their third straight to New York and 7th straight overall. 9-3 final tonight. 

Balester Breakdown...

Collin Balester started the night by retiring 9 of the first 10 Mets' batters he faced, issuing only a leadoff walk to the seventh batter Fernando Tatis before completing his third scoreless frame. Argenis Reyes had New York's first hit to leadoff the fourth, and David Wright followed with a double to left on a full-count curve that Balester and catcher Wil Nieves tried to sneak through.  Balester attacked Carlos Delgado with a steady diet of curves, one of which the Mets' slugger got enough of to ground out to short, allowing Reyes to score and Wright to take third. Carlos Beltran smacked a sac fly to center to score Wright from third, and the Mets had a 2-0 lead after four...

...and a 4-0 lead after five, when Brian Schneider, who played 8 years in the Nationals/Expos' organization, hit his first HR in Nationals Park ...as a Met...with Fernando Tatis on after walking to make it a two-run blast and a 4-0 NY lead after five....After all the breaking balls, Carlos Delgado was looking for a fastball the next time around, leading off the sixth, and Balester threw one in an 0-1 count, 94 mph coming in and out almost as fast on a line drive that lands and gets lost in the flower box above the left field wall. 5-0 Mets. 

The other four NY runs come in the ninth, with the Mets leading 5-3, and DC closer "Wild" Joel Hanrahan up and asked to give the offense a chance in the home half of the inning. It doesn't go well. Hanrahan gives up a single and a double to Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis, respectively, and then strikes out Brian Schneider with no outs and men on second and third. Pinch hitter, (and Nationals-killer) Damion Easley, puts it out of reach with a single to score Murphy and Tatis...and a throwing error on a play at first allows the other two runs to score to make it impossible...9-3 NY.

Yeah, But Did Lastings Milledge Continue His Hit Streak?

I'm sorry to say...Lastings Milledge did not get to 15-straight games with a hit, going 0 for 3 with a walk and a K tonight in DC. The streak's stopped at 14 by Mets' starter Oliver Perez, who got a swinging K, a pop fly and a weak ground ball out of Milledge, and "Generic" Joe Smith, who walked Milledge, and allowed him to steal second, but denied him of a hit in his fourth and final at bat of the evening. 

Milledge's streak started on July 31st in DC against the Phillies, and continued through the Reds' three-game visit to Nationals Park. Four on the road against the Rockies, and on through four more with the Brewers in Milwaukee before coming back for the first two against New York back at home...and it ends on August 14th... 

Milledge's Streak - 21 for 56, .375 AVG, 8 R's, 1 3B, 5 HR's, 9 RBI's, 5 walks, 9 K's, 3 SB.

What They're Saying...

In his coverage of the Mets' 12-0 win over the Nationals in the second game of this series, Newark Star-Ledger sports writer Jeremy Cothran takes a few opportunities to belittle DC's third-favorite favorite sons, writing in his article entitled, "Mets' win over Nats is a walk in park", that the Nationals are, "National League East cellar residents", which is factually correct, and a surprising alternative to the admittedly overused, "cellar dwellers", with the variation apparently in recognition of the Nationals change to a more permanent residency in the NL East's basement. Later, after describing Rutgers' own Jason Bergmann's rough outing, Mr. Cothran refers to the Nationals as, "...a junior varsity lineup," and he writes earlier in the article that after NY took the big lead, most of the DC faithful, "...left in search of more entertaining options." I guess it's hard to argue with that after watching the Mets' fans rise at the end of each of the Mets' last three victories...IN DC...

Tomorrow's the start of three with the Rockies in Nationals Park.

Hold on? Did Belliard just get traded...Was his night at short a tryout? More news soon...

For The Completists...Full Game Report after the jump...

New Nationals now 6-8.

Nationals now 44-78. (Countdown to 100 Losses Stands At...22.)

Jose Reyes backs Lastings Milledge up a few steps where Milledge catches the first out of the evening. DC righty Collin Balester gets a line drive to second from Argenis Reyes. Balester vs David Wright. Wright grounds back to the mound. 1-2-3 first for Balester...Oliver Perez rocks into his delivery, and gets Emilio Bonifacio staring at a two-strike slider. Ronnie Belliard likes playing short, and he’s so happy he singles up the middle in his first at bat. Oliver Perez gets Ryan Zimmerman to chop an outside pitch to second, where A. Reyes fields and backhands to J. Reyes, to Delgado at first, double play.

Balester deals to Carlos Delgado. Delgado rips a liner into the dramatic shift where beer league left fielder Emilio Bonifacio makes the play. 0-2 curve drops in on Carlos Beltran who reaches down and pops out over second. Red-hot Daniel Murphy swings through a 1-2 change for another 1-2-3 frame...Milledge, in the four spot, strikes out in his first at bat. Austin Kearns takes a 1-1 fastball low and inside and noticeably deflates when it’s called strike two, and Kearns strikes out swinging at a fastball down the pipe. Aaron Boone grounds back to the mound to end the second. 

 

Collin Balester tries to hit the low inside corner with a full-count fastball but gets it too far in and walks Fernando Tatis. Willie Harris takes a few quick first steps and catches up a with a line drive out from Brian Schneider. Oliver Perez is trying to bunt, but strikes out popping up his third attempt, and he slams his bat on home plate in frustration. Jose Reyes flies out to Harris in left, and Balester’s through three scoreless... Fernando Tatis catches a foul off Wil Nieves’ bat for the first out of the Nationals’ third. Willie Harris flies out to right. Collin Balester takes an 0-2 fastball for a called strike three.

 

Argenis Reyes lines a one-hop single to Harris in left for the Mets’ first hit. David Wright rips a full-count curve under a diving Zimmerman, and A.Reyes takes third with Delgado due up. Balester keeps Delgado on a steady diet of curves and gets a ground ball to second that scores Reyes and advances Wright to third. 1-0 Mets. Carlos Beltran flies out to center. Wright tags and scores. 2-0 Mets...Emilio Bonifacio battles but ends up swinging through a high fastball for the first out of the DC fourth. Ronnie Belliard watches a two-strike curve all the way in as he swings low fastball...Ryan Zimmerman beats David “Gold Glove” Wright to the third base line with a two-out double. Lastings Milledge flies out to center...

 

Fernando Tatis walks to start the fifth. Collin Balester throws a 55 foot curve that gets away from Nieves, Tatis takes second, and Brian Schneider!! follows with a line-drive two-run blast to left for a 4-0 Mets’ lead. Balester gets a groundout from the opposing pitcher, throws a high two-strike fastball by Jose Reyes for the first two outs, and then walks Argenis Reyes. Austin Kearns gets an assist from the Ump when a foul pop from Wright is interfered with by a fan along the right field line...Austin Kearns pops up into short right. Aaron Boone pops up behind home, and Wright calls for and catches the second out. Perez walks Nieves, but Willie Harris grounds weakly to second, and the Nationals are held scoreless again in the fifth. 

 

Carlos Delgado unloads on an 0-1 fastball outside and drives it to left for a solo shot to leadoff the sixth.  5-0 Mets. Balester walks Beltran. Daniel Murphy lets Belliard start his first DP of the season with a toss to Bonifacio, to Boone, in time! Fernando Tatis walks, again. Brian Schneider gets robbed by Boone at first, who ends the Mets’ sixth with a diving stab. Kory Casto hits for Balester in the DC sixth, Oliver Perez bends a two-strike slider from inside out over the plate for a backwards K of Casto. Oliver Perez gets Bonifacio staring at another breaking ball on the outside corner. Ronnie Belliard goes with a fastball outside and singles to right with two down. Ryan Zimmerman takes a two-out walk to bring up Milledge. Lastings MIlledge grounds weakly to second to end Perez’s sixth scoreless. 

 

Garrett Mock’s on the mound to start the seventh. Oliver Perez lines out to a cat-like Ronnie Belliard at short. Bonifacio’s throw just beats Jose Reyes to first for the second out. Argenis Reyes takes a two-strike curve on the outside edge for a backwards K. Stand up and stretch...Austin Kearns singles to start the seventh. Aaron Boone beats out the throw from second on a DP attempt, but Kearns is out on the force. Wil Nieves walks to put two on in front of Willie Harris. Harris pops up to Delgado at first. “Intergalactic”, by the beastie boys, is cued up and Pinch Hittin’ Pete Orr steps up with two down...and triples off the out-of-town scoreboard in right to drive in two, 5-2 NY. Emilio Bonifacio bunts, and avoids Delgado, who drops the ball allowing Orr to score, 5-3 Metsies...Collapse? The Mets? Oliver Perez is out. Ronnie Belliard faces “Generic” Joe Smith, who gets a pop out with a slider to end the seventh. 

 

Lastings Milledge dives a little early but comes up with a line drive off of David Wright. Carlos Delgado faces Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera. Delgado strikes out swinging over a sinking full-count fastball. Carlos Beltran grounds to Boone, toss to Sa-ool, 1-2-3 eighth for Rivera...Ryan Zimmerman rips the first pitch back to the mound, where Joe Smith makes the play. Lastings Milledge works the count full, and has his bat shattered on a fastball in on the hands, that Lasto fouls off. Milledge takes a fastball outside that’s called ball four. Milledge steals second off Schneider with Kearns at bat. Kearns walks. Joe Smith is done. Duaner Sanchez vs Aaron Boone...Boone swings over strike three on a fastball outside. Wil Nieves Do it? Nieves grounds to third, Wright comes in fields and throws to first, in time. 5-3 NY.

 

It’s “Wild” Joel Hanrahan in the top of the ninth. Daniel Murphy lines a single to Milledge in center. Fernando Tatis beats Zimmerman to the line with a double to right. Murphy takes third. Hanrahan gets Brian Schneider with a slider in the dirt for strike three swinging. Damion Easley singles to center, Murphy and Tatis cross. 7-3 NY. Argenis Reyes lines out to Zimmerman. David Wright grounds to short, and Belliard boots it...Bases loaded for Delgado. Delgado grounds through Boone to Bonifacio in the dramatic shift, and the throw to Hanrahan covering is WIDE, two more score, 9-3 NY...

 

...3 outs to get 6 runs. Aaron Heilman gets a groundout from Willie Harris. Ryan Langerhans gets called out looking at a fastball outside. Emilio Bonifacio fouls off a 2-2 pitch, all of the Mets’ fans in attendance rise. Bonifacio walks. Ronnie Belliard grounds out to third. Sweep. Great. Good night. 9-3 NY. 

 

New Nationals now 6-8.

 

Nationals now 44-78. (Countdown to 100 Losses Stands At...22.)