Rubber Match Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche improved to 9 for 22 with three doubles and two home runs so far in August with a two-base line drive to right in the first at bat of the second this afternoon in the nation's capital. Ian Desmond stepped in next against New York Mets' right-hander Jacob deGrom and crushed a 3-2 fastball after spitting on back-to-back 1-2 sliders, sending home run no.18 of 2014 into the left field bullpen on a line for a 2-0 lead early in the series finale between the NL East rivals.
Daniel Murphy was 2 for 2 today, 7 for 10 in the series in D.C. and 15 for 42 with five doubles and three home vs Jordan Zimmermann in their respective careers after he lined an RBI double to center in the top of the third inning to cut the Nats' lead in half, 2-1.
LaRoche and Desmond did it again in the fourth with the Nats' first baseman reaching on a ground-rule double to left and scoring from second on a line drive single to left-center by the Nationals' shortstop. 3-1 Nats after four.
The Mets tied things up in the seventh with Wilmer Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis reaching on leadoff and one-out singles, respectively, moving up on a wild pitch by Drew Storen, who took over on the mound after Nieuwenhuis' hit, and scoring on a sac fly by Eric Young, Jr. and an RBI single by Curtis Granderson in consecutive at bats as the Mets tied things up at 3-3 in D.C.
• With the score still tied at 3-3 after twelve and a half innings, Ian Desmond walked to start the Nationals' thirteenth and
4. D.C. via Auburndale, WI: Jordan Zimmermann threw seven scoreless against the Philadelphia Phillies last time out on the mound, earning his seventh win of the season in the process and continuing to improve coming out of the break as he's recovered from the bicep scare that caused him to miss his second straight All-Star appearance.
In three post All-Star Break starts, the 28-year-old right-hander has a 2.84 ERA, a 2.56 FIP, one walk (0.47 BB/9) and 20 Ks (9.47 K/9) in 19 IP over which he's held opposing hitters to a combined .233/.247/.431 line.
"Good slider to the right handers," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said when asked about Zimmermann's outing vs the Phillies after the Nationals' 11-0 win. "Fastball up ahead in the count. Up out of the zone he got some chases there. He was aggressive. His tempo was good. Throwing strikes. Working fast. Even with some of the long innings we had offensively, he still stayed with it and kept his tempo going."
This afternoon, the Nats' '07 2nd Round pick was taking on the New York Mets in the nation's capital where he's (4-2) in 12 starts so far this season with a 2.62 ERA, a 2.54 FIP, 13 walks (1.70 BB/9) and 56 Ks (7.34 K/9) in 68 ⅔ IP in which visitor's to Nationals Park have a .278/.317/.352 line against him.
Zimmermann was taking on the Mets for the second time this season after holding NY's hitters to eight hits, two walks and three earned runs in six innings of work back on May 18th in D.C.
That outing was the 17th of his career against the Nationals' NL East rivals, against whom he was (5-5) in 17 career starts with a 3.29 ERA, 23 walks (2.10 BB/9) and 77 Ks (7.05 K/9) in 98 ⅓ IP over which Mets' hitters put up a combined .254/.299/.393 line against him.
The 18th start of Zimmermann's 2014 campaign began with groundout to first...
1st: Jordan Zimmermann got over to cover first on a grounder to Adam LaRoche off Curtis Granderson's bat. Daniel Murphy took a 1-2 curve low and away out to left-center for a one-out single. David Wright chased a 2-2 slider out of the zone outside for out no.2. Lucas Duda sent Jayson Werth back to the track, but the Nats' right fielder caught the third out of a 17-pitch frame.
2nd: Juan Lagares popped up to Asdrubal Cabrera at second to start the top of the second. Wilmer Flores grounded sharply to short for out no.2. Mets' catcher Anthony Recker took a close 1-2 fastball inside to get to a 2-2 count but bit on a 2-2 curve outside. Check-swing strike three. 16-pitch frame. 33 total after two.
3rd: Jacob deGrom, batting eighth, singled through the right side to start the top of the third, and moved up to second when Eric Young, Jr. bunted him over/gave up an out. Curtis Granderson stepped in with a runner in scoring position and K'd swinging at a slider Zimmermann aimed at his back heel. Daniel Murphy came up next and lined an RBI double to center to bring the pitcher in, 2-1 Nats. David Wright's fly to right ended a 16-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 49 total after three.
4th: Lucas Duda K'd swinging at a 1-2 slider. Juan Lagares grounded weakly to short. Wilmer Flores popped out to first to end a quick, nine-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth. 58 pitches total for Zimmermann after four.
5th: Anthony Recker and Jacob deGrom hit back-to-back balls out to Denard Span to give Jordan Zimmermann two quick outs on three pitches. Eric Young, Jr. worked the count full in a 10-pitch at bat that ended with a weak pop to foul territory off third. 13-pitch frame. 71 total after five. Seven straight Mets set down.
6th: Curtis Granderson grounded weakly to first. Daniel Murphy was 3 for 3 today after a line drive single to right on an 0-1 change, but he was forced out at second on a grounder to Asdrubal Cabrera by David Wright. Lucas Duda stepped in with two down and beat the shift with a single through the right side. Juan Lagares fell behind 0-2 and went down swinging at a high heater. 13-pitch frame, 84 total after six.
7th: Wilmer Flores singled to start the seventh. Anthony Recker sent a fly to Denard Span in center for the first out of the frame. Pinch hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled through short to put two on and end Zimmermann's outing... [ed. note - "Action picks up in no.1 below]...
The line on Jordan Zimmermann: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K -- 91 pitches, 67 strikes. pic.twitter.com/OGdqUPS3oe— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 7, 2014
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.1 IP. 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 91 P, 67 S, 6/5 GO/FO.
3. deGrom in D.C.: Jacob deGrom, the New York Mets' 26-year-old, 2010 9th Round pick entered this afternoon's series finale with a five-start win streak going which stretched back to a July 2nd loss to the Atlanta Braves on the road in Turner Field. The right-hander gave up six hits, two walks and three earned runs in that loss to the Braves, then bounced back with seven scoreless against the Mets' NL East rivals from Atlanta the next time out, tying a rookie-campaign high in Ks with 11 in that outing.
Since the early-July loss to the Braves, the rookie starter was (5-0) in five starts, over which he put up a 1.04 ERA in 34 ⅔ IP, walking six (1.56 BB/9) and striking out 37 (9.60 K/9) while holding opposing hitters to a combined .198/.235/.230 line.
On the road this season before today, the DeLand, Florida-born starter was (3-2) with a 3.59 ERA, a 2.59 FIP, 18 walks (3.40 BB/9) and 46 Ks (8.69 K/9) in eight starts and 47 ⅔ IP in which he held opposing hitters to a combined .246/.320/.339 line. He was facing the Nationals and pitching in the nation's capital for the first time this afternoon.
deGrom's first start in D.C. began with a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 first.
Adam LaRoche doubled to right to start the bottom of the second inning, connecting on a 94 mph 2-2 fastball from deGrom. Ian Desmond spit on back-to-back 1-2 sliders outside to work the count full and then crushed a 93 mph fastball, sending a line drive into the left field bullpen for a two-run blast and a 2-0 lead. The blast snapped a streak of 67 innings in which the Mets' right-hander had not allowed a home run. 23-pitch second for deGrom, 33 pitches total after two.
Denard Span extended his on-base streak to 33-straight games with a one-out single in the Nationals' third, but he was doubled up on a grounder to third off Anthony Rendon's bat. Seven-pitch frame for deGrom, 40 pitches total after three.
Adam LaRoche doubled to left field with one down in the Nationals' fourth and scored from second on a line drive to left-center by Ian Desmond. 3-1 Nationals. 22-pitch frame for deGrom. 62 pitches total after four.
Jose Lobaton singled to right to start the Nats' fifth and was bunted over to second by Jordan Zimmermann who /gave up an out. Denard Span singled to center, moving Lobaton to third, but was caught stealing by a catcher for the first time this year when he tried to take second with Anthony Rendon up and was thrown out by Anthony Recker. Rendon's fly to left ended a 14-pitch frame by deGrom, who was up to 76 pitches after five.
Adam LaRoche walked with one down in the sixth, but deGrom struck out the side. 21-pitch frame, 97 total after six.
• Jacob deGrom's Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 63 S, 6/5 GO/FO.
2. Turning Point(s): Nationals' shortstop Ian Desmond stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third with a runner in scoring position at second, having gone 1 for 8 one at bat into the third game of three with the Mets and 10 for 54 (.185) over the last 15 games since he homered in a 5 for 5 game against the Rockies in Colorado back on July 22nd. Desmond was facing Mets' right-hander Jacob deGrom, who hadn't allowed a home run in 67 innings on the mound, going back to June 5th. Desmond fell behind 1-2, but spit on consecutive sliders out of the zone outside then took a 3-2 fastball for a ride for a line drive home run that landed in the left field bullpen, giving the Nationals a 2-0 lead early in the series finale in the nation's capital. #spitspitbang
Matt WIlliams made the decision to lift Jordan Zimmermann after the right-hander gave up two singles in the seventh. Williams turned to Drew Storen with switch-hitting outfielder Eric Young, Jr. and lefties Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy due up instead of going to a lefty and spinning EY around to the right side (where he has a .193/.220/.246 line as opposed to a .236/.335/.315 line vs RHP). A wlid pitch from Storen moved both runners up. Young lined to right-center for a sac fly. Granderson singled to center and it was all tied up at 3-3.
1. The Wrap-Up: Drew Storen took over on the mound with runners on first and second and one down in the seventh and bounced a 2-2 pitch by Jose Lobaton to move both runners into scoring position. Eric Young, Jr. lined one into the right-center gap that Jayson Werth somehow tracked down. Sac fly though, and 3-2 Nationals when Wilmer Flores scored. Curtis Granderson stepped in with the tying run on second and lined an RBI single to center to tie things up at 3-3. Jerry Blevins came on to face Daniel Murphy and got a groundout to second to end the inning.
Mets' right-hander Vic Black took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh and threw a scoreless 10-pitch frame.
Tyler Clippard retired the Mets in order in a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the eighth.
Denard Span was 3 for 4 today after singling to center off Black to start the Nationals' eighth. Anthony Rendon K'd looking at an 0-2 bender for out no.1. Jayson Werth lined to right for a one-out single, ending Black's afternoon.
Josh Edgin came on to face Adam LaRoche, who worked the count full... and... K'd chasing ball four out of the zone. Jeurys Familia came on to face Ian Desmond and got a groundout to first to end the threat.
Rafael Soriano retired the Mets in order in a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 ninth.
Familia came back for the bottom of the ninth and threw one by first on a one-out bunt attempt by Asdrubal Cabrera. With Jose Lobaton up, Familia bounced one in the dirt that got away from Anthony Recker allowing Cabrera to take second. Lobaton walked to bring Steven Souza, Jr. up. Souza fell behind 0-2 quickly and took a fastball outside for a called strike three. Dana Eveland vs Denard Span? Force at second.
Free Baseball!! Though the Nationals entered extras 3-8 in extra inning games this season.
Matt Thornton took the mound in the top of the tenth and retired the Mets in order in an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
Buddy Carlyle retired the side in order in the bottom of the tenth.
Craig Stammen gave up a hard-hit fly by David Wright that Denard Span handled. Lucas Duda K'd chasing a 2-2 sinker out of the zone outside. Eric Campbell grounded out to short. 11-pitch inning, 13 straight Mets set down.
Carlyle came back out and gave up a one-out single to right by Bryce Harper, but nothing else.
Stammen took the mound again in the twelfth, gave up a two-out walk, but finished another scoreless inning.
Jenrry Mejia took over for the Mets in the bottom of the twelfth inning and gave up a one-out single by Denard Span and a two-out single by Jayson Werth, but Adam LaRoche K'd swinging to sent it to the thirteenth.
Stammen, in his third inning of work, got two quick outs with five pitches before David Wright lined a double to left-center field. The Nats gave Lucas Duda the intentionals to get to Eric Campbell, who grounded back to the mound to end the top of the thirteenth.
Carlos Torres took over for the Mets in the bottom of the inning and issued a leadoff walk to Ian Desmond before giving up a two-run home to left by Bryce Harper!! Walk-off winner!!!
Nationals now 62-51