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Nationals' lineup vs Mets in first-half finale: Gio Gonzalez loves Citi Field...

Washington has back-to-back wins over the last two nights and the Nationals try to take the series in the first-half finale this afternoon with Gio Gonzalez on the mound against the Mets in Citi Field, where he's enjoyed success over the course of his career.

Al Bello/Getty Images

The Mets took the series opener in Citi Field 9-7, when Lucas Giolito struggled and the home team out-homered their divisional rivals, but the Washington Nationals got solid starts from both Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer in the second and third games of the four-game, first-half-ending set in New York.

Stephen Strasburg held the Mets to a run on two hits in seven innings on Friday night, earning his 12th win (12-0) in the Nationals' 3-1 victory.

Last night in New York, Max Scherzer limited the Mets to a run on three hits in what ended up a 6-1 win for the visiting Nationals.

Mets' skipper Terry Collins talked to reporters after Saturday night's loss about the pitching New York's hitters have been up against in the back-to-back losses, after they scored a run early on Scherzer but failed to take advantage of an opportunity to add more in the first.

"It's the age-old story," Collins said when asked about the missed opportunities early in last night's loss.

"When you've got a great pitcher on the mound it's the thing if you can get him you better get him early cause if you don't and they settle in, you're in trouble, and that's exactly what happened today. We let him off the hook in the first inning and he settled in and was Max Scherzer from there. You've got to get him when you have a chance."

While they had an opportunity to gain some ground in the division in this long-weekend series, Strasburg, Scherzer and the rest of the Nats have frustrated the Mets' attempts to make a dent in the Nationals' lead.

"We've faced some pretty good pitchers," Collins said. "We scored some runs off [Jon] Lester and some off [Jake] Arrieta, but these guys are certainly a big rival for us, they're keyed up coming in here, they're trying to open up a big lead and those two guys are really pitching good and we've just got to get home and get back tomorrow and grind it out. We've got one more chance to finish up and even the series which would be a good finish for us going into the break."

Gio Gonzalez, who's struggled this season, might seem like a bit of a break for the Mets, but the 30-year-old lefty has always pitched well in Citi Field, with a (7-1) record in 12 starts in New York (NL) over which he's put up a 1.53 ERA and a .167/.247/.242 line in 76 ⅔ career inning pitched.

Here's the lineup that will back Gonzalez up as the Nationals wrap up the first-half this afternoon: