Today's Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: After taking the season opener in Citi Field on Monday, the Washington Nationals fell behind 1-0 early but got out to a 3-1 lead on New York Mets' right-hander Bartolo Colon with Adam LaRoche doubling in a run in the fourth and Ian Desmond and Gio Gonzalez hitting solo shots off the veteran starter in the fifth.
Colon threw 110 pitches in six innings in his Mets' debut. Gonzalez went six on 91 pitches, giving up just three hits, a walk and one earned run.
The Nationals added a run in the seventh when Denard Span and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back doubles off Mets' reliever Gonzalez Germen and Span scored from third on a wild pitch. 4-1 Nationals. Denard Span tripled with one down in the ninth and scored on RBI groundout by Anthony Rendon to make it 5-1 Nats. That's how it ended.
4. Gio Gonzalez Loves NY: Gio Gonzalez entered tonight's outing against the New York Mets with a (5-1) record, a 2.57 ERA, 21 walks (3.86 BB/9) and 43 Ks (7.90 K/9) in eight starts and 49 IP on the mound opposite the Nationals' NL East rivals. Gonzalez was also a winner in five straight games against the Mets since his only only career loss to NY on July 19, 2012 and he'd also been especially tough in Citi Field where the 28-year-old lefty was (4-0) with a 1.58 ERA, 16 walks (3.60 BB/9) and 38 Ks (8.55 K/9) in six starts and 40 IP over which he'd held Mets' hitters to a .131/.222/.190 line before tonight.
Coming off a +3.1 fWAR campaign in the nation's capital in 2013 which saw the southpaw put up a 3.36 ERA and a 3.41 FIP with 76 walks (3.50 BB/9) and 192 Ks (8.83 K/9) in 32 starts and 195 2/3 IP, Gonzalez's 2014 campaign got off to a shaky start with Juan Lagares tripling in the first at bat and scoring on a one-out sac fly to right by David Wright as the Mets took an early 1-0 lead.
Gonzalez followed up on a 17-pitch first with a quick, seven-pitch, 1-2-3 second. The Nats' lefty appeared to have three quick outs in the third, but Ryan Zimmerman committed his first error of the year on a two-out grounder toward third base off of Juan Lagares' bat. Zim fielded it, spun toward first and uncorked a too soft toss that sailed wide of Adam LaRoche. Four pitches later, however, Gonzalez finished a scoreless 11-pitch inning that left him at 35 overall after three.
Gonzalez let an expletive out on the mound when he walked David Wright to start the Mets' fourth a half-inning after the Nationals tied it up at 1-1, but he got a flyout to left from Curtis Granderson, a grounder back to the mound by Andrew Brown and and a backwards K (his 3rd strikeout) from Josh Satin to end an 18-pith inning that left him at 53 overall after four.
Gonzalez improved to 12 for 129 in his career when he hit his third major league home run out to left off Bartolo Colon in the top of the fifth.
Gonzalez took the mound after homering in the top of the fifth and gave up a one-out single to center field by Ruben Tejada, but Bartolo Colon failed to get a bunt down, leaving it up to Juan Lagares who lined a double to left field and off the rolled-up tarp where Bryce Harper collected it before firing a strike to home plate that beat Tejada home. Jose Lobaton applied the tag. 18-pitch inning, 71 overall after five.
Curtis Granderson worked the count full but K'd swinging at a fastball to end a 20-pitch sixth that left Gio Gonzalez at at 91 pitches overall after six innings in which he struck out six batters.
Gonzalez was done after that: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 91 P, 60 S, 8/3 GO/FO.
3. Big Bart: The Mets signed 40-year-old, 16-year veteran righty Bartolo Colon to a 2-year/$20M deal after an (18-6), +3.9 fWAR 2013 season in Oakland in which the fastball-throwing starter posted a 2.65 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 29 walks and 117 Ks in 30 starts and 190 1/3 IP in his second season with the A's. And by "fastball-throwing" starter, we mean a full 85.5% of his pitches last season were fastballs, though that was actually down a bit from 89.2% fastballs in 2012. That averages out to 87.1% fastballs over the last two seasons, by far the most by any major league starter over that stretch, .9% more than no.2 on the list, the Indians' Justin Masterson (77.2%).
It was more of the same from Colon tonight as he started the game with 3.0 scoreless on 39 pitches.
Jayson Werth was 2 for 2 tonight after an opposite double to right off Colon with one down in the fourth, connecting for the Nationals' only two hits through 3 1/3 IP against the Mets' right-hander, but Adam LaRoche collected the third hit of the game for the visiting Nats when he hit an opposite field double to left to drive Werth in and tie the game up at 1-1.
The Nationals' fourth hit of the night was a leadoff home run to left by Ian Desmond on a first-pitch fastball from Colon in the fifth that ended up in the PartyCity.com Deck in left field. One out later Gio Gonzalez hit a towering shot out to left field to make it 3-1 Nationals.
Colon finished the start at 110 pitches after a 22-pitch sixth.
2. #FeartheBeard #Steak #Gonezalez #TheArm: An opposite RBI double by Adam LaRoche. A solo shot to left on a laser of a line drive by Ian Desmond. A towering shot to left field by slugging pitcher Gio Gonzalez. It took the Nats a little while, but after a few hard-hit liners found their way to Mets' fielders they finally started falling in and going out vs Bartolo Colon tonight in Citi FIeld as the Nationals got out to a 3-1 lead after five.
The Mets threatened to add a run in the fifth, but Bryce Harper cut Ruben Tejada down at the plate, collecting the ball after it bounced off the rolled-up tarp in left and firing a strike to Jose Lobaton at home that beat the runner to the plate. #TheArm
1. 2-0: Anthony Rendon and Denard Span hit back-to-back doubles off Mets' right-hander Gonzalez Germen to put runners on second and third with no one out in the seventh and a passed ball allowed Span to score from third to make it 4-1 Nationals.
Drew Storen needed 13 pitches to retire the Mets in order in the top bottom of the seventh. Tyler Clippard walked the first batter he faced, but struck out Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores in the next three at bats to end a 21-pitch eighth inning. Denard Span was 2 for 5 with a double and triple tonight after a one-out, three-base hit in the top of the ninth inning and he scored on an RBI groundout by Anthony Rendon to make it 5-1 Nationals.
Craig Stammen threw a scoreless ninth. That's how it ended.
Nationals now 2-0