Welcome home, NL East Champs! Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Wilmer Flores doubled to right on an 0-2 fastball from Washington Nationals' starter Tanner Roark, and New York Mets' center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis sent a 2-1 heater into the Nats' bullpen on a bounce for an RBI ground-rule that gave the visiting team a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning tonight in Nationals Park.
The Nationals tied it up in the bottom of the inning, however. Kevin Frandsen reached on a grounder to first when Mets' starter Bartolo Colon failed to get over to cover first in time and after a sac bunt by Roark, Michael Taylor, who was in the game after Denard Span left it following a tumbling catch in center, doubled to right to bring Frandsen in and make it 1-1...
Jayson Werth walked with two down in the fifth to put two on for Adam LaRoche, and LaRoche crushed a 1-0 fastball, sending a three-run home run into the right field bullpen for a 4-1 lead.
The Mets loaded the bases in the seventh on a single by Wilmer Flores and double by Curtis Granderson off Roark and a walk to Eric Campbell by Nats' lefty Ross Detwiler. Ruben Tejada hit a sac fly to right in the next AB, bringing Flores in to make it 4-2 after six and a half.
That's how it ended. Nats 4-2 over Mets.
4. The Myth of Row-Ark: Tanner Roark's third start of the year against the New York Mets on September 11th in Citi Field, which saw him give up seven hits, a walk and two earned runs in 6 ⅓ IP, left him (4-0) in five games and four starts against the Nats' NL East rivals in his career over which he's put up a 3.04 ERA, 10 walks (3.38 BB/9), 18 Ks (6.08 K/9) and a .265/.330/.378 line against in 26 ⅔ IP.
After the outing, the 27-year-old right-hander was asked what it was that has allowed him to have so much success against the Mets.
"Good scouting reports," Roark told reporters. "[Wilson Ramos] knows them pretty well and just [executed] my pitches."
"I just felt like I was commanding both side of the plate," Roark said of his solid work that night.
"Letting it go and not holding back and trying to nibble. Just trying to make pitches, not try to make pitches, just trying to go after them, right after them like I always have."
Roark followed that outing up with seven scoreless innings on the mound against the Atlanta Braves in Turner Field which left him (6-4) in 12 second-half starts with a 2.63 ERA, a 3.70 FIP and a .234/.273/.353 line against in 78 ⅔ IP.
Roark's 13th start of the second-half of his second major league campaign began with leadoff double...
1st: Mets' leadoff man Matt den Dekker took the first pitch of the game from Tanner Roark to right for a leadoff double. Daniel Murphy popped out to Bryce Harper in foul territory in left. Travis d'Arnaud took a 1-2 fastball outside for a called strike three and out no.2. Lucas Duda stepped in with a runner on and two outs and popped out to third to end a nine-pitch opening frame.
2nd: Wilmer Flores grounded out to short. Curtis Granderson sent a fly ball to left field where Bryce Harper caught out no.2. Kirk Nieuwenhuis lined to short right with two down, but Jayson Werth made a sliding grab to end a 12-pitch second that left Roark at 21 pitches.
3rd: Ruben Tejada grounded out to third to start the top of the third inning. Bartolo Colon sent a groundout out to third as well. Matt den Dekker sent a line drive to center that Denard Span caught on the track before tumbling into the wall. 12-pitch frame for Roark, 33 total after three.
4th: Daniel Murphy grounded out to Adam LaRoche and Tanner Roark got over to cover. Travis d'Arnaud fisted one out to short for the second out of the frame. Lucas Duda's fly to right ended an eight-pitch inning after which Roark was up to 41 pitches with 12 straight batters set down.
5th: Wilmer Flores doubled to right on an 0-2 fastball up in the zone outside. Curtis Granderson popped up over the infield for the first out of the inning. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a 2-1 fastball to right and it bounced into the Nats' bullpen for an RBI ground-rule double that made it 1-0 Mets. Ruben Tejada's fly to right allowed Nieuwenhuis to take third, but Bartolo Colon popped up to short to end a 22-pitch inning. 63 pitches for Roark after five.
6th: Matt den Dekker grounded back to the mound. Daniel Murphy lined out to center for out no.2. Travis d'Arnaud's grounder to short ended a quick, 14-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth. 77 total.
7th: Lucas Duda lined to center for the first out of the seventh. Wilmer Flores lined a single to left with one down. Curtis Granderson hit a gapper to right-center to move Flores around to third. That was it for Roark...
The line on Tanner Roark tonight: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K -- 86 pitches, 58 strikes. Season ERA down to 2.85. pic.twitter.com/YBqCmglmks— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 24, 2014
• Tanner Roark's Line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 86 P, 58 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
3. Bartolo "HBP" Colon: Adam LaRoche's first-inning home run off Bartolo Colon during the September 11th game between the Nationals and Mets in Citi Field was followed by a HBP on Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond.
When Anthony Rendon homered off Colon in the fourth inning, sending a two-run blast out to left field, the Mets' right-hander hit Jayson Werth in the next at bat and was ejected by home plate umpire John Tumpane.
After the game, Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked by reporters if he thought the HBPs were intentional?
"Well, I don't have a clue," Williams said diplomatically. "I know that Bartolo has got fantastic control. And he hit [Desmond] early in the game, skimmed him with a pitch and then lost one and hit Jayson. So I don't have an opinion one way or the other, all I know is that he has exceptional control. So, we deal with it and move on."
"I didn't talk to Bart about it," Mets' skipper Terry Collins said, "but we'll just leave it at that."
Collins was ejected for arguing on his pitcher's behalf.
That start left the 41-year-old, 17-year veteran (1-3) in four starts vs the Nationals this season, with a 4.13 ERA, four walks and 19 Ks in 24 IP in which Nats' hitters have put up a combined .284/.320/.516 line.
In his career, before tonight, the right-hander was (2-4) in six outings against the Nationals/Expos, with a 3.07 ERA, six walks and 23 Ks in 41 IP in which he's held opposing hitters to a .280/.310/.459 line.
Colon followed the start against the Nats up with a 7 ⅔-inning outing against the Miami Marlins in which he gave up 12 hits but just one run, leaving him (6-4) in 11 second-half starts with a 4.06 ERA, a 3.32 FIP and a .282/.311/.410 line against in 68 ⅔ IP.
The 12th start of the second half for Colon began with a scoreless 19-pitch first in which he worked around a leadoff single and a two-out walk. Colon needed just nine pitches to retire the Nationals in order in the second, leaving him at 28 total after two.
Another 1-2-3 frame in the third left the Mets' starter at 35 pitches overall after three.
Adam LaRoche singled to left with one down in the Nats' fourth and Ian Desmond walked in the next at bat, but two outs later, Colon was through a 24-pitch frame at 59 total after four.
Kevin Frandsen reached on an infield single when Colon failed to cover first on a grounder to Lucas Duda in the first at bat of the fifth. Roark bunted Frandsen over/gave up an out and Michael Taylor doubled him in with a sharp grounder by first base. 1-1 game. Jayson Werth walked with two down to get Adam LaRoche to the plate and LaRoche crushed a 1-0 fastball, sending a three-run home run to right field. 4-1 Nats. 23-pitch frame for Colon, 82 overall after five.
Adam LaRoche HR gives him 6 HR and 18 RBI in 14 games vs the Mets this season— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 24, 2014
The Nationals went down in order in a six-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the inning that left him at 88 overall.
• Bartolo Colon's Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 88 P, 53 S, 9/1 GO/FO.
2. Nats vs Mets: Through 16 games this season, the Washington Nationals held a decisive 13-3 advantage over their NL East rivals from New York, with a 9-1 record in the ten games contested in the Mets' home and a 4-2 mark when they've met in the nation's capital. The final series of the season between the two teams started with the Nats holding a 95-85 advantage over the Mets since baseball returned to the nation's capital in 2005.
The Nationals entered the three-game set with a 32-28 edge over the Mets in Nats Park since it opened in 2008.
The Nats win in the series opener left them 14-3 against the Mets this season with two games left against New York this week.
1. The Wrap-Up: Ross Detwiler took over for Tanner Roark with runners on second and third and pinch hitter Eric Campbell at the plate. A walk to Campbell loaded the bases for Ruben Tejada, who worked the count full and lined out to right for a sac fly. 4-2.
Aaron Barrett took over with two on and two out in the Mets' seventh. Bobby Abreu stepped in as a pinch hitter and walked to load'em back up. Anthony Recker stepped in with three on and two out and popped up to first to end the frame.
Carlos Torres threw a quick, scoreless bottom of the seventh.
Tyler Clippard took the mound in the top of the eighth. Daniel Murphy grounded out to first. Travis d'Arnaud sent a high fly to left field... Bryce Harper tracked it to the wall and missed it. Ruled an error instead of a triple. Lucas Duda lined out to left in the next at bat and d'Arnaud didn't bother trying to score as Harper threw a laser to Wilson Ramos. Wilmer Flores stepped in with two out and a runner on third and went down swinging.
Josh Edgin came out for the bottom of the eighth. Ian Desmond reached base on a sharp grounder to first that Lucas Duda knocked down but bobbled. Desmond stole second with Bryce Harper up and took third when the throw from d'Arnaud bounced into center. Harper K'd swinging for out no.2. Daisuke Matsuzaka came on to face Wilson Ramos, and struck the Nats' catcher out to end the eighth.
STOREN WARNING!!: Nats' closer Drew Storen came on in the ninth looking for save no.10 of 2014. Curtis Granderson took a backdoor slider for a called strike three. Eric Campbell fell behind 0-2 and went down swinging in at the ninth pitch he saw. Ruben Tejada singled through short with two down. Bobby Abreu stepped in as the potential tying run and worked the count full before grounding out to short. Ballgame.
Nationals now 92-64