Giolito, Giolito, Giolito! I know, right! Enough about this Lucas Giolito kid! Okay, we actually can't talk about Lucas Giolito enough, but there were plenty of other positives to take from the Washington Nationals' 5-0 win over the New York Mets last night in the nation's capital.
Like the fact that it was the Nats' third straight win and it gave the Nats the series with their NL East rivals. And the fact that Bryce Harper hit the first home run off Jerry Blevins by a lefty since 2013, or the fact that the 23-year-old slugger's home run to right was his third in the last 12 games, over which he's 14 for 47 (.298/.369/.532).
Anthony Rendon drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the second with a triple that provided us all with a chance to see Wilson Ramos "speed" around the bases. Harper's two-run home run in the fifth made it 3-0 Nats and then Ramos doubled in two more in the seventh to put the Nationals up by five.
And that was just the offense. After Giolito's four inning, and the hour and twenty-five minute rain delay that ended his MLB debut, Yusmeiro Petit threw a scoreless fifth, but got in some trouble in the sixth, when the Mets loaded the bases with one down.
Dusty Baker went to the Nationals' bullpen for left-hander Oliver Perez, who struck James Loney out and retired Wilmer Flores for the final out of the frame.
Baker talked about Giolito at length, but also discussed the contributions from everyone not named Lucas Giolito after the game.
"It was nice to see Bryce swinging it and very nice to see Big Wilson continue to do what he's doing," Baker said, "and quietly Rendon is beginning to swing it.
"We had some good signs. We played some good ball. Our bullpen did an outstanding job, especially when they were threatening there Perez came in and slammed the door and that was big, that was real big."
The Nationals' win was big too. It gave them a 5.0 game lead over the Mets in the division, though New York is now in third with the upstart Marlins just 4.5 behind.
Baker said earlier this week that after the rough road trip to San Diego, LA and Milwaukee, he hoped that the Nationals could get things going again at home, and the early returns on the ten-game homestand are positive.
"So, big game tomorrow," he said. "And we can push it back to where we started on that terrible road trip, which is our plan."