So long, Citi Field Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Jordan Zimmermann worked his way into and out of trouble in the first five innings this afternoon in the finale of the Washington Nationals' four-game set with the New York Mets in Citi FIeld. Through five innings, the Mets were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position in the last game between the NL East rivals in NY this season.
Both pitchers threw six scoreless on 91 pitches, but the Nationals finally got on the board in the seventh with Ian Desmond reaching on an infield single, taking second on a sac bunt and scoring on a two-run home run to right by Wilson Ramos, who hit an opposite field blast on a 1-1 fastball from Niese. 2-0 Nats on Ramos' 10th.
Ian Desmond doubled to start the ninth and scored during a botched rundown attempt with two down to put the Nationals up 3-0. That's how it ended.
4. Zimmermann in Citi Field: In 10 second-half starts before today's, 28-year-old Washington Nationals' starter Jordan Zimmermann was (5-0) with the Nats 9-1 in his outings, over which the right-hander put up a 2.77 ERA, seven walks (0.97 BB/9) and 62 Ks (8.58 K/9) in 65 IP in which the '07 2nd Round pick held opposing hitters to a .235/.258/.370 line against.
Two of Zimmermann's ten second-half starts were against the New York Mets he was facing today in the series finale in Citi Field. In back-to-back outings against the Nats' NL East rivals, Zimmermann gave up a total of 12 hits and four runs, three earned in 5-3 and 3-2 wins for the Nationals.
In the first of the two starts, Mets' infielder Daniel Murphy doubled in a run in the third and the other two of the three earned runs Zimmermann allowed came after he left the mound when Drew Storen gave up a sac fly and RBI single that tied things up at 3-3 and left the starter with no decision.
"I thought it went pretty well," Zimmermann said of the start in D.C. "They didn't get too many hard-hit balls. The one that Murphy hit, the double, was about the only one and all the other ones were little ground balls that got through or weak contact that just fell in."
The next time out, Zimmermann allowed just one unearned run in 6 ⅓ IP on the mound in Citi Field. That start left the righty (2-0) against the Mets this season with a 2.89 ERA, two walks (0.96 BB/9) and 10 Ks (4.82 K/9) in 18 ⅔ IP over which he's held Mets' hitters to a combined .274/.303/.301 line.
In his career against the Nationals' NL East rivals before today's start, Zimmermann was (6-5) in 19 outings with a 3.16 ERA, 23 walks (1.86 BB/9) and 86 Ks (6.97 K/9) in 111 IP over which he's held Mets' hitters to a combined .253/.294/.378 line.
The 20th start of Zimmermann's career against New York began with weak grounder to second...
1st: Eric Young, Jr. rolled over a 1-1 fastball and sent a weak grounder to second. Juan Lagares chased a 1-2 slider out of the zone. Daniel Murphy's fly to right ended a quick, 10-pitch, 1-2-3 first.
2nd: Lucas Duda popped up to Anthony Rendon to start the second. WIlmer Flores tripled to left-center on a 2-2 fastball when Denard Span came up short on a diving attempt. Curtis Granderson stepped in with a runner on third and out out and popped out to left, not deep enough. Anthony Recker got a two-out RBI opportunity, but K'd looking at a 2-2 heater to end an 18-pitch second. 28 pitches overall for Zimmermann after two scoreless.
3rd: Ruben Tejada singled to center to start the Mets' third, but was forced out at second on a bunt to third base by Jon Niese. Eric Young, Jr. took a fastball inside off the wrist to put two on. Juan Lagares popped out to second for out no.2. Daniel Murphy stepped in with runners on the corners and two down and popped out to foul territory off third to end a nine-pitch third that left Zimmermann at 37 pitches.
4th: Lucas Duda grounded out to first to start the Mets' fourth. Wilmer Flores was 2 for 2 today after a one-out single to left. Curtis Granderson sent Flores around to third with a single to right, by a diving Adam LaRoche. Anthony Recker stepped in with runners on the corners and walked to load the bases for Ruben Tejada, who lined out to short for the second out of the inning. Jon Niese got a DIY chance with two down and popped to third to leave'em loaded. 23-pitch frame, 60 total after four.
5th: Eric Young, Jr. grounded out to first on the first pitch of the Mets' fifth, but Juan Lagares doubled by the first base bag in the next at bat. Daniel Murphy K'd swinging at a 1-2 slider for out no.2. Lucas Duda took a 1-2 fastball in his right bicep. Wilmer Flores, who was 2 for 2 after two at bats, fell behind 0-2 quickly and sent a fly to left to end an 18-pitch frame. 78 total.
6th: Curtis Granderson sent a fly ball to center to start the bottom of the sixth. One out. Anthony Recker lined a first-pitch slider to left for a one-out single. Ruben Tejada popped to third for out no.2 and Jon Niese fouled strike three into Wilson Ramos' mitt to end a 13-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 91 pitches after six.
7th: Eric Young, Jr. chased a two-strike slider outside. Juan Lagares popped to short-center where Danny Espinosa made the catch. Two down. That was it for Zimmermann...
The line on Jordan Zimmermann today: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K -- 103 pitches, 74 strikes. pic.twitter.com/9qvlrcd294— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 14, 2014
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 103 P, 74 S, 4/5 GO/FO.
3. Niese vs the Nats: Last time out on the mound against the Washington Nationals on August 6th, 27-year-old New York Mets' lefty Jon Niese got knocked around, giving up eight hits, two walks and six earned runs in 6 IP in a 7-1 loss.
It was the Mets' '05 7th Round pick's second start of the season against the Nats, after he gave up eight hits, two walks and five runs, three earned in 4 IP in a May 16th outing which New York lost, 5-2.
The two starts this season were the eighth and ninth of his seven-year career against Washington, leaving him (3-2) with a 3.52 ERA, 12 walks and 47 Ks in 53 ⅔ IP over which Nationals' hitters have put up a combined .284/.321/.417 line against him.
In ten second-half starts before this afternoon's, Niese was (3-6) with the Mets 4-6 in his outings, over which he's put up a 4.59 ERA and a .308/.354/.492 line against in 64 ⅔ IP.
Niese's third start of the season against the Nationals began with a scoreless, 19-pitch first in which he worked around Anthony Rendon's one-out double.
Niese needed 16 pitches to set the Nats down in order in the second, leaving him at 35 pitches total after two.
Danny Espinosa reached on what was ruled a leadoff single that Daniel Murphy couldn't backhand at third. A bunt by Jordan Zimmermann moved Espinosa over, but he was caught off second on a grounder back to the mound by Denard Span. A swinging K by Anthony Rendon ended a 13-pitch frame that left Niese at 48 pitches.
An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth in which Wilmer Flores made a nice diving grab to rob Adam LaRoche of a single left Niese at 59 pitches. Niese struck out the side and retired his seventh, eighth and ninth straight batters in a 15-pitch fifth that left him at 74 pitches.
"How To Earn Your Pitcher's Love," by Wilmer Flores. http://t.co/KXVcmzPMkv— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) September 14, 2014
Denard Span singled with one down in the Nats' sixth and took second on a two-out line drive single to left by Jayson Werth, but Adam LaRoche lined out to Curtis Granderson in right to end Jon Niese's sixth scoreless. 17-pitch frame, 91 total.
Ian Desmond beat Niese to the bag on a grounder to first for an infield single in the top of the seventh. Bryce Harper bunted Desmond over/gave up an out... and Wilson Ramos hit a 1-1 fastball out to right over the WISE chips sign on the right field wall for a two-run blast and a 2-0 lead. 16-pitch frame for Niese, 107 total after seven.
• Jon Niese's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 107 P, 72 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
Citi Nationals Field: Entering the Nationals' final game of the season in the Mets' home, the NL East's first-place team was 12-3 against their divisional rivals and 8-1 Citi Field this summer after taking two of the first three games of the four-game long-weekend set in New York. Going back to September 2011, to have fun with arbitrary end points, the Nationals were 27-5 in the last 32 games contested in Flushing, Queens, NY. The Nats' win today left them 9-1 in Citi Field this season and 13-3 against the Mets on the year.
1. The Wrap-Up: Matt Thornton took over for Jordan Zimmermann with two out in the seventh and got over to cover on a groundout to first by Daniel Murphy to end the frame. 2-0 Nationals.
Carlos Torres took the mound for the Mets in the top of the eighth and gave up a two-out single to right by Jayson Werth, but Adam LaRoche popped to second to end the inning.
Tyler Clippard took the mound for the Nats in the eighth and threw a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
Torres came back out for the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to center by Ian Desmond. Two outs later, Desmond scored on a botched rundown attempt to make it 3-0.
STORENWARNING!!!!: Drew Storen took the mound looking for save no.5 of 2014. Anthony Recker popped to center. ONE! Pinch hitter Bobby Abreu lined to right for a one-out single. Kirk Nieuwenhuis stepped in with pinch runner Dilson Herrera at first base and grounded out to Adam LaRoche. Storen got over to cover. TWO!! Matt den Dekker stepped with two out and grounded weakly to first... for an infield single. Juan Lagares stepped in with two out and flew to right to end it. Ballgame. 3-0 Nationals.
Nationals now 85-63