In his major league debut last week, Lucas Giolito's outing ended after just four innings due to rain. The length of the appearance was the only disappointment, as the Washington Nationals' top prospect provided four shutout innings on one hit and two walks, striking out one.
On Tuesday at CitiField, Giolito's start was shorter still as the young righty got roughed up, and the Nats lost to the Mets 9-7 in a homer-filled affair.
Per Elias Sports Bureau, the eight combined home runs are the most in a game the Nats have been involved in since the move. And the nine total walks issued by the Nats pitching staff was the most in a game since 2012.
Giolito went just 3 2/3 erratic innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and four walks, striking out four. He threw 90 pitches, 52 for strikes, and was absolutely gassed at the end on a muggy night in New York. His fastball command was spotty and the Mets completely ignored his curveball.
He made a couple of special pitches, including a changeup to left-handed hitting Neil Walker and a 96-mph fastball to freeze James Loney for a called strike three. But his fastball was up in the zone all night and when it was in the strike zone it was hammered repeatedly.
The Nats gave Giolito some support right off the bat. Ben Revere hit a line drive into the right field corner and with the Mets not playing him to pull, he raced all the way to third for a leadoff triple. Jayson Werth bounced out to third, but Daniel Murphy lined a single over second base to bring in Revere. With a chance to do some real damage in the inning, Bryce Harper grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Giolito ran into some trouble. Revere made a diving catch to rob Jose Reyes of a hit, then he walked Curtis Granderson on an inside fastball that went to the backstop. Yoenis Cespedes smashed a grounder right at Danny Espinosa that should have been an inning ending double play, but it handcuffed Espinosa and all hands were safe. But Giolito came back to get Neil Walker to ground out to first and struck out James Loney looking.
The Mets got to Giolito in the third though. With one out, Granderson drew another walk. He was erased on Espinosa's terrific wheeling throw to second on a Cespedes grounder. Walker bounced one behind second base that Espinosa double-clutched on, and both runners were safe. Loney then looped a single to left and Cespedes scored just ahead of the throw from Werth. But the Nats' young righty struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to limit the damage.
Giolito threw 60 pitches (37 strikes) to get through the first three innings.
Harper got the lead back for the Nats in the fourth. On a 2-2 fastball he crushed his 19th home run of the season to dead center field, just to the left of the Mets' iconic "Big Apple" that pops up when the home team hits a home run. After Wilson Ramos grounded out, Clint Robinson went the opposite way, smashing his fourth homer of the season -- the Nats' N.L. leading 119th -- to make it 3-1.
Anthony Rendon then lofted a fly ball to left that just kept carrying. Left fielder Brandon Nimmo drifted back to the fence and leaped, but the ball hit the fencing to the party deck above the outfield fence and bounced back onto the field for a home run, Rendon's ninth of the campaign.
It was the 11th time the Nationals have hit back-to-back home runs in 2016, setting a franchise record, surpassing the 1999 Expos with 10.
Giolito struck out Nimmo to start the bottom of the inning, but Travis d'Arnaud hit a first-pitch fastball to center for his second homer of the year, and the first allowed by Giolito in his young career. After Colon popped out, Jose Reyes crushed an upper-deck shot to right for his first homer in his return to the Mets order.
Granderson followed with a double to the right field corner. Giolito balked Granderson over to third and Cespedes doubled down the left field line to plate Granderson and tie the game. After a walk to Walker -- Giolito's fourth of the night -- manager Dusty Baker gave him the hook.
Oliver Perez entered and the Mets pulled a double-steal on Perez' first pitch, a called strike to d'Arnaud. But Perez coaxed a lazy fly ball out of d'Arnaud to end the nightmare inning.
Perez batted for himself to lead off the fifth and singled past the third base bag. He went to second on Revere's single and over to third when Werth forced Revere with a grounder to first. Murphy then grounded into an apparent 6-4-3 double play but the Nats challenged and Murphy was ruled safe, with Perez scoring on the play to make it 5-4.
Harper then lined a single to put runners on the corners and Ramos followed with a ground ball single up the middle to score Murphy and move Harper to third, ending Colon's night. Jerry Blevins came in and walked Robinson to load 'em up for Rendon. Blevins gave way to Hansel Robles, and Rendon flied out to center to halt the rally.
Not capitalizing hurt, as Perez was ineffective in the bottom half and gave up a long, no-doubt-about-it three-run home run to Wilmer Flores and the Mets led 7-6 after five.
Faced with a short bench due to Ryan Zimmerman's mysterious injury, Perez was left to bat for himself again with one out in the sixth. The venerable lefty lined a slider into the right field corner and challenged Granderson's arm with great effect, utilizing a head-first slide to record a double. It was Perez' first two-hit game since May 2, 2007 with the Mets and the first relief pitcher with two hits in a game since Esmil Rogers on July 30, 2011.
Revere tapped out to the pitcher to move Perez to third, but Werth struck out to strand him there.
Matt Belisle took over in the bottom of the sixth and surrendered Cabrera's 11th homer of the year to make it 8-6.
Murphy got one of those runs back with a solo homer to lead off the seventh, his 15th of the year, setting a new personal season-high. Murphy is now hitting .405 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 10 games against the Mets this season.
But the Mets got it right back. With two outs in the seventh against Sammy Solis, Granderson singled and Cespedes walked on four pitches. After a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux, Walker singled to score Granderson. After a walk to Juan Lagares, Yusmeiro Petit came on to face Cabrera and he induced a grounder to first to end the threat.
The Nats got a walk from Werth and Murphy ripped a shot to short. Werth was forced, and Murphy ruled out automatically as Werth slid through the second base bag.
WP: Robles (3-3) LP: Giolito (0-1) SV: Familia (31) HR: Harper (19), Robinson (4), Rendon (9), Murphy(15), d'Arnaud (2), Reyes (1), Flores (8), Cabrera (11) E: Bastardo (1).
NEXT GAME: Friday night at 7:10 p.m. at CitiField. Stephen Strasburg (11-0, 2.71) faces Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 2.41).
- Ryan Zimmerman did not play, listed as day-to-day with an unspecified "soreness." Manger Dusty Baker, in his pregame remarks, said the injury is not related to either of the two ailments that sidelined Zimmerman for long stretches last year -- a sprained right shoulder and plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
- The Nationals will open the second "half" with a nine-game homestand where they will welcome Pittsburgh, Los Angeles (N.L.), and San Diego to Nationals Park.
- At 51-35 (.593), the Nats possess the third-best record in the National League, behind only the San Francisco Giants (54-33, .621) and the Chicago Cubs (52-32, .619). The Nationals run differential sits at +99, second-best in MLB behind the Cubs (+149).
- Washington’s starter tonight, RHP Lucas Giolito, was born on July 14, 1994. Bartolo Colon, who started for New York, was in his first professional season in 1994, playing for the Burlington Indians of the rookie-level Appalachian League. According to MLB researchers, Colon made a start for Burlington on July 13, 1994, the day before Giolito was born.
- Washington went 7-3 on its most recent homestand, clubbing 36 extra-base hits (18 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs) as well as a .475 team slugging percentage along the way.
- Since June 1, Washington ranks among all National League squads in OPS (1st, .800), on-base percentage (1st, .341) , runs scored (2nd, 177), slugging percentage (2nd, .459), HR (2nd, 48), walks (2nd, 116), doubles (T2nd, 62), and batting average (4th, .270).
- Since June 1, Danny Espinosa is third in the N.L. with a .718 slugging percentage. He paces the Nationals and ranks tied for second in the N.L. with 12 HR, while his 29 RBI are a team-high, and rank tied for fourth in the N.L.
- Jayson Werth leads Nationals hitters and ranks fifth in the National League with a .432 on-base percentage since June 1. His 25 walks since June 1 are third-most in the N.L.