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Nationals 10-3 over Mets in Citi Field: Nats improve to 12-3 vs Mets in 2014

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The Washington Nationals improved to 12-3 against the New York Mets this season with a 10-3 win in Citi Field which featured a monster HR by Bryce Harper, more strong work from Doug Fister and another multi-hit game by Anthony Rendon.

Jim McIsaac

Fister in Flushing, Queens Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: New York Mets' right-hander Zack Wheeler walked Ian Desmond in front of Bryce Harper in the top of the second inning and nine pitches later paid for the free pass when the Washington Nationals' 21-year-old left fielder hit a tape-measure blast into the PEPSI Porch in right field in Citi Field for a 2-0 lead early in third game of the four-game set in NY. Harper's 13th of the season. Upper deck.

Desmond and Harper both reached on infield grounders in the top of the fourth, and Desmond stole his 20th base of the year in the next at bat, scoring when Mets' catcher Travis d'Arnaud sent a throw to third into left field. 3-0 Nats.

Denard Span walked and stole second in the fifth, and after scurrying back to second base safely ahead of a throw from Wheeler on a grounder back to the mound by Rendon, the Nats' center fielder scored on an RBI single to right by Jayson Werth that made it 4-0 Nationals. Ian Desmond drove Rendon and Werth in with a single to center to put the Nationals up 6-0 in NY.

The Mets got on the board in the bottom of the fifth with Curtis Granderson doubling and scoring on a two-run home run to left by Mets' shortstop Wilmer Flores. 6-2 Nationals.

The Nats added a run in the sixth when Denard Span reached on an infield single, took third on a single by Anthony Rendon and an error by Juan Lagares in center and scored on a Jayson Werth grounder to first. 7-2.

The Mets got a run back with Curtis Granderson singling by a diving Adam LaRoche at first with two runners on in the sixth to bring Juan Lagares in and make it 7-3.

Ian Desmond's 22nd double of the year bounced off the XEROX sign on the right field wall in Citi Field and drove Jayson Werth in from third for the Nationals' eighth run of the game. 8-3 after seven and a half in New York.

Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to start the Nats' ninth and scored two outs later on Denard Span's fifth home run of the second. Span's blast to right off Mets' lefty Dario Alvarez made it a 10-3 game.

That's how it ended. 10-3 Nationals.

4. Fister vs NY: Washington Nationals' pitcher Doug Fister's two starts against the New York Mets this season, in his first campaign as part of the Nats' rotation, came in back-to-back outings on August 6th and 12th which saw the 30-year-old, 6'8'' right-hander surrender just one unearned run in 14 ⅓ IP in which he gave up 13 hits and no walks while striking out 10.

"The radar gun doesn't blow up, but he throws the ball where he wants to. Tonight he was really down in the zone, really down and on the corners..." -Matt Williams on Fister after first start of 2014 vs NYM

After Fister held the Mets to one unearned run in 7 ⅓ IP in the first of the two starts against Washington's divisional rivals, at home in D.C., Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked to reporters about what allowed him to dominate hitters in the Nationals' 7-1 win.

"Kept them off-balance," Williams said. "Threw strikes. Relaxed, certainly, after the first inning where we got some runs and went to work, so he was really good again tonight."

"The radar gun doesn't blow up," Williams explained, "but he throws the ball where he wants to.

"Tonight he was really down in the zone, really down and on the corners tonight. We got a lot of ground balls, got a couple of double plays, and that's kind of what he provides for us, the ability with one pitch to get two outs and that's huge."

Fister returned to the mound against the Mets the next time his turn in the rotation came up and threw seven scoreless in Citi Field in another 7-1 win for the Nationals.

In an MLB Network Radio interview that week, Williams praised Fister's work in the second consecutive win over New York.

"His tempo is really incredible to me, the tempo at which he pitches. And it keeps our guys on their toes, they know the ball is going to be hit, so there's good plays made behind him." -Matt Williams after Fister's second start vs the Mets

"He works fast and he throws strikes," the first-year skipper said. "His tempo is really incredible to me, the tempo at which he pitches. And it keeps our guys on their toes, they know the ball is going to be hit, so there's good plays made behind him.

"So all of those things combined just add up to him going deep in games for us and giving us a chance to win every day."

In ten second-half outings before tonight's start, the six-year veteran was (5-4) with a 2.09 ERA, a 3.74 FIP and a .257/.297/.353 line against in 64 ⅔ IP.

The start in the third game of four with the Mets in New York was the fourth of Fister's career.

In the previous three outings, including the two this year and one in 2013 when he was still with the Tigers, Fister was (3-0) with a 0.44 ERA (1 ER in 20 ⅔ IP), two walks, 14 Ks and a .263/.280/.288 line against.

He took the mound in Citi Field tonight and started the evening with a grounder back to the mound.

1st: Eric Young, Jr. sent a 1-1 fastball back to Doug Fister for the first out of the Mets' first. Juan Lagares sent a one-out single through short on an 0-1 two-seamer. Daniel Murphy K'd swinging through an 0-2 fastball for out no.2 and K no.1. Lucas Duda stepped in with a runner on and two out and lined out to center to end a 13-pitch frame by the Nats' starter.

2nd: Travis d'Arnaud grounded out to second to start the Mets' half of the second inning. Curtis Granderson took an 0-1 cutter in the thigh and took his base. Wilmer Flores sent a grounder to short in the next at bat to start an inning-ending 6-4-3. Nine-pitch inning, 22 total after two.

3rd: Dilson Herrera sent a fly ball to Denard Span in center for the first out of the bottom of the third. Zack Wheeler sent a high fly to Bryce Harper in left. Fister got over to cover on a grounder to first by Eric Young, Jr. and Adam LaRoche's toss to the bag ended a quick, nine-pitch, 1-2-3 third. 31 total after three.

4th: Juan Lagares grounded out to first to start the fifth. Daniel Murphy popped up to short left. Lucas Duda walked with two down. Travis d'Arnaud's pop to short ended an 11-pitch fourth, 42 total for Fister.

5th: Curtis Granderson doubled over Denard Span's head to start the Mets' fifth and Wilmer Flores followed with a two-run home run to left that landed in the Party City.com deck. 6-2 Nats. Dilson Herrera grounded out to third for the first out of the inning. Pinch hitter Bobby Abreu sent a fly to center for out no.2. Eric Young, Jr.'s groundout to second ended a 13-pitch frame that left Fister at 55 pitches.

6th: Juan Lagares singled to left to start the sixth. Ian Desmond fielded a grounder off Daniel Murphy's bat, but dropped it as he headed to second trying to start a DP. Two on, no out. Lucas Duda K'd looking at a filthy 3-2 bender from Fister for the first out of the frame. Travis d'Arnaud stepped in with two on and one out sent a fly to left for out no.2. Curtis Granderson ripped a grounder toward first in the next at bat and it got by a diving Adam LaRoche, allowing a run to score to make it 7-3 Nats. Wilmer Flores stepped in with runners on the corners and K'd swinging to end a 20-pitch frame. 75 total for Fister after six.

Doug Fister's Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 75 P, 50 S, 8/5 GO/FO.

3. Wheeler Dealer: In ten starts in the second half of his second major league campaign before tonight's outing in New York against the visiting Washington Nationals, 24-year-old Mets' righty Zack Wheeler was (5-1) with a 2.47 ERA, a 3.86 FIP, 26 walks (3.77 BB/9), 64 Ks (9.29 K/9) and a .214/.308/.350 line against in 62 IP.

One of those starts, and one of his five second-half wins came in an outing against the NL East-leading Nationals, against whom he threw 6 ⅔ strong back on August 5th in the nation's capital, holding Nats' hitters to seven hits, four walks and one earned run in a 6-1 win in Nationals Park.

The win that day left the San Francisco Giants' '09 1st Round pick, acquired by the Mets in the July 2011 trade that sent Carlos Beltran out West, (2-4) in six career starts against the Nationals, with a 4.14 ERA, 12 walks (2.92 BB/9) and 30 Ks (7.30 K/9) in 37 IP over which Nats' hitters have put up a combined .282/.340/.444 line against the right-hander.

At home in New York this season, before tonight's start, Wheeler was (4-5) in 11 outings with a 3.74 ERA, 3.41 FIP and a .242/.327/.371 line against in 65 IP.

Wheeler's 12th start of the season at home began with a scoreless 17-pitch first in which he worked around a one-out single by Anthony Rendon.

Ian Desmond walked to start the second and Bryce Harper hit a moonshot into the second deck, or Pepsi Porch, in the at bat that followed, taking a full-count fastball for a ride and a two-run blast that made it 2-0 Nats. Harper's 13th. Wheeler's 30-pitch second left him at 47 overall after two.

Anthony Rendon was 2 for 2 tonight and 8 for 12 in the third game of the Nats' four-game set in New York after a leadoff single in the third, but he was doubled up on a grounder to short off Jayson Werth's bat. A swinging K by Adam LaRoche ended a 20-pitch frame that left Wheeler at 67 pitches.

Ian Desmond reached on an infield grounder in the first at bat of the fourth that bounced off Dilson Herrera's wrist and Bryce Harper reached on a swinging bunt. Desmond stole third with Asdrubal Cabrera up and scored when Travis d'Arnaud sailed the throw. 3-0 Nationals. Three outs later, Harper was stranded at the end of a 20-pitch frame by Wheeler, who was up to 87 pitches overall.

Denard Span walked to start the fifth and stole second with Anthony Rendon up. SB no.31. Span got back to second safely on a grounder to the mound by Rendon when Wheeler turned and threw behind him and scored on an RBI single to right by Jayson Werth in the next at bat. 4-0 Nats. That was it for Wheeler...

Zack Wheeler's Line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 59 S, 4/1 GO/FO.

2. Turning Point(s): The New York Mets' 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals last night was their first in eight games this season in Citi Field and their first in thirteen in New York going back to June of 2013.

With the win, they improved to 3-11 against the NL East-leading Nationals this season and 85-93 overall against their divisional rivals since baseball returned to the nation's capital in 2005.

It was just the fifth win in the last 31 games the two teams have played in Citi Field since September of 2011, as the Nationals have dominated the Mets in their own home over the last few seasons.

Could the Mets make it two in-a-row at home tonight? Nope.

This one was over fairly early. Zack Wheeler issued a leadoff walk to Ian Desmond in the second and gave up a big blast to right by Bryce Harper, who hit a two-run blast into the upper deck in Citi Field. Harper's 13th HR put the Nats' up 2-0 early and they added a run in the fourth and three more in the fifth to get out to a 6-0 lead in what ended up an 10-3 win.

1. The Wrap-Up: Gonzalez Germen took over on the mound in the Nationals' fifth, and retired Adam LaRoche, but Ian Desmond singled to center in the next at bat to drive both Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth in and give the Nats a 6-0 lead in Citi Field. Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera took back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out, but Jose Lobaton and Doug Fister K'd swinging to end the top of the frame.

Buddy Carlyle gave up an infield single by Denard Span and a line drive to right by Anthony Rendon. An error by Juan Lagares in center allowed Span to take third...and he scored on a grounder to first by Jayson Werth on which the Mets got an out failed to turn a DP. 7-2 Nationals after five and a half.

Bryce Harper singled off Carlyle to start the seventh and took third one out later on a single to right by Jose Lobaton. Nate Schierholtz dropped a swinging bunt in front of home and was thrown out by d'Arnaud. Josh Edgin came on to face Denard Span with runners on second and third and two out and got a groundout to first to strand two. 7-3 D.C.

Rafael Soriano took over on the mound in the home-half of the seventh and retired the Mets in order in a 15-pitch frame.

Mets' right-hander Vic Black hit Anthony Rendon up high with a 1-0 fastball in the first at bat of the eighth. Jayson Werth reached on a pop to right that Curtis Granderson dropped, but the unexpected misplay allowed him to double Rendon up at second. Werth took third on a grounder to first by Adam LaRoche, and scored on Ian Desmond's third hit of the ninth and 22nd double of the season, 8-3.

Ross Detwiler came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth and gave up a leadoff single by Juan Lagares before retiring the next three Mets in order in a 13-pitch frame.

Mets' lefty Dario Alvarez gave up a leadoff double by Asdrubal Cabrera, who scored two outs later on Denard Span's fifth home run of the season. 10-3 Nationals.

Xavier Cedeno retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the ninth. Ballgame.

Nationals now 84-63