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Washington Nationals 9, New York Mets 1: Goodnight, Dark Knight; Nats pound Harvey and Mets 9-1

Nats hitters pounded Matt "Dark Knight" Harvey and starter Stephen Strasburg was strong, allowing one run on six hits and one walk over six innings, striking out 10 along the way, as the Nationals took the rubber match from the Mets 9-1.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Another matchup of potential aces got ugly early for the home team, as Matt "Dark Knight" Harvey was pounded early and often and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 9-1 on Thursday to take the rubber match and win the three-game series at Citi Field.

Nats hitters accounted for 11 hits overall and starter Stephen Strasburg was strong, allowing one run on six hits and one walk over six innings, striking out 10 along the way.

Since returning from the disabled list from a neck strain last season on Aug. 8, Strasburg is 15-2 with a 2.20 ERA over 143 innings, allowing 35 earned runs on 101 his and 28 walks with 185 strikeouts.

In the top of the first, Jayson Werth drew a one-out walk, his fourth in three games since being moved to the No. 2 spot in the order. Bryce Harper flied out to right, extending his hitless streak against Harvey to 0 for 23, but cleanup hitter Daniel Murphy crushed a hanging curveball to center for his sixth home run of the season to put the Nats up 2-0. Murphy finished 2 for 4 and is hitting .397 overall.

Strasburg followed that with a 1-2-3 inning, all on strikeouts. He got Granderson with a 97-mph four-seam fastball, David Wright on 98-mph gas and Michael Conforto with a 92 mph changeup.

Strasburg got into trouble in the second. Yoenis Cespedes singled to lead off and after Lucas Duda struck out on a nasty changeup, Neil Walker lined one over Murphy's head for a single. Asdrubal Cabrera then grounded one up the middle and with Ben Revere slow to respond, Cespedes scored and Walker moved over to third. But Strasburg got Kevin Plawecki to fly to short right and Harvey looked at at 97-mph four-seam, Strasburg's fifth K in two innings, to get out of trouble.

In the third, Ben Revere reached on a single to left and after Werth flied to center, Harper lashed a single to right, ending his 0-fer against Harvey. Harper then promptly stole second, his seventh of the season, and the Mets walked Murphy intentionally to get to Ryan Zimmerman.

Harvey got Zimmerman to ground to short for a potential double play, but Cabrera booted the backhand attempt and a run scored. Anthony Rendon then lined one to left that Conforto couldn't pull in and two more runs came across to make it 5-1. Wilson Ramos then got one through the left side, plating another two to make it 7-1, eliciting boos from the Citi Field crowd.

Danny Espinosa got into the act with a single to right, then Strasburg grounded to third to move the runners up. Revere followed with a slicing liner to center that eluded Cespedes and went all the way to the wall. Both runners came across and Revere ended up with a triple, making it 9-1 and ending Harvey's night -- his shortest appearance in the majors-- to another loud round of boos.

Harvey's final line was as ugly as the disapproval he found from the partisan crowd: 2 2/3 innings, nine runs -- six earned, on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts. The nine runs were a career-high against Harvey (L, 3-6, 5.77).

The Nats (25-16) loaded 'em up again in the fourth against reliever Logan Verrett with one out as Murphy doubled, Zimmerman walked and Rendon singled softly. But Wilson Ramos grounded to force the runner at home and Espinsosa struck out to end the threat.

Meanwhile, Strasburg came back in the bottom to fan Cespedes on a wicked curve that had the slugger turning away from it, then Duda looked at 97 on the black. Walker singled to right, but Cabrera grounded out to end the frame.

At 96 pitches after five, Strasburg came back for one more inning of work. He threw 17 more (for a total of 113), walking Cespedes before striking out Duda and Walker and getting Cabrera to fly out to short center on an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch by Espinosa. Strasburg finished with 10 Ks, his fourth double-digit K game of the season and 25th of his career.

All that was left was to mop up. Oliver Perez pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out one, Blake Treinen handled the eighth with a K and a BB, and Jonathan Papelbon got some work in, taking care of the ninth.

WP: Strasburg (7-0) LP: Harvey (3-6) SV: None. HR: Murphy (6) E: Cabrera (2).

NEXT GAME: Friday at 7:10 p.m. against the Miami Marlins (21-19) at Marlins Park. Tanner Roark (2-3, 3.10) faces Justin Nicolino (2-1, 3.75) in the first of a three-game series against the division rival.


  • The Nationals reached the approximate quarter pole of the season on Wednesday night, and their 7-1 victory over the Mets sealed the best start in Nationals history (2005-present) through the season’s first 40 games. No previous Nationals team won as many as 24 of its first 40 games (2015 & 2012 teams went 23-17).
  • The Nationals matched a club record (2005-present) and re-set their season high with 11 walks in Wednesday night’s game, including five issued by Mets RHP Bartolo Colon, who hadn’t walked back-to-back batters in nine years but did it twice in Washington’s 7-1 victory...The 11 free passes to first base were the Nationals’ most since Aug. 9, 2006 vs. Florida.
  • The Nationals, who also struck out 11 times, are the first team to post at least 11 walks and 11 strikeouts in a nine-inning game since the Mets did so vs. the Chicago Cubs in 2007, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • Nationals RF Bryce Harper’s streak of walks in 10 straight games came to an end on Tuesday night, but he was right back at it on Wednesday, walking four times for the fourth time in his career (second time this season: 6 at CHI).
  • Harper, who leads the Major Leagues in walks with 45, has now drawn 28 walks in his last 12 games alone. According to Elias, the only other player in modern MLB history (since 1900) with 28 walks in a 12-game span was Barry Bonds in 2004. Bonds did so several times that season, reaching a high of 30 BB.
  • Harper leads the Major Leagues in on-base percentage (.455), walks (45) and intentional walks (11). He also ranks in the NL in OPS (2nd, 1.040), home runs (T3rd, 11), RBI (T5th, 29) and slugging percentage (6th, .585).
  • Nationals RHP Shawn Kelley is one of only two relievers in MLB (with San Diego RHP Fernando Rodney) who has pitched at least 10.0 innings and is yet to allow an earned run. Kelley, who signed a three-year contract with Washington this offseason, is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 18 appearances (14.0 IP) this season. He has struck out 20 batters against just two walks (one of which was intentional)  and surrendered 10 hits.