Stephen Strasburg went seven respectable innings and Ryan Zimmerman drove in three RBIs but the Washington Nationals gave up some late runs that handed them a 5-3 loss at the hands of the New York Mets.
Zimmerman continued to make a strong case for the NL Player of the Month Award over teammate Bryce Harper, going 3-4 with his eleventh home run of the year.
Dusty Baker got heated when Jayson Werth was called out on a questionable non-obstruction call courtesy of Angel Hernandez in the second.
Strasburg went seven but Enny Romero and Shawn Kelley each gave up home runs in their respective innings to give New York a lead they would not relinquish.
Nats lose 5-3.
Here’s how it happened:
• Stephen Strasburg stepped onto the mound Saturday afternoon with a 2.89 ERA across four starts, looking to pick up the Nats’ rotation after Max Scherzer allowed five runs Friday night.
He gave up a leadoff single to Michael Conforto, who is quickly becoming a Nat killer, but then struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and used just seven pitches to take care of Jay Bruce and Neil Walker for a scoreless top of the first.
• Dusty Baker made a questionable decision ahead of the game penciling in Michael Taylor at the No. 2 with Adam Eaton landing on the Disabled List. Taylor didn’t take long to reward his manager’s faith, smacking a one-out double off the center field wall in his first at-bat.
One out later, Ryan Zimmerman tied Bryce Harper for the team lead in RBIs with a single to left that was deep enough for Taylor to score from second and put Washington up 1-0.
• Strasburg only needed 12 pitches to post a 1-2-3 second inning, bringing his total to 29 through his first two frames.
• Anthony Rendon led off the bottom of the second with a walk and moved to second on a Jayson Werth groundout. No. 8 hitter Jose Lobaton was unable to move him after lining out to right field on the first pitch he saw. Strasburg made Mets starter Zack Wheeler work for the final out, fouling off four pitches en route to a 10-pitch at-bat that ended in a groundout.
• Wheeler got his revenge in the top of the third, hitting a one-out single off Strasburg. The rest of his lineup wouldn’t be able to bring him around, however, bringing up the top of the Nats’ order with the game still 1-0.
• Turner drew a leadoff walk and Taylor followed with a single into left field to put runners on first and second with no outs for the heart of the Washington lineup.
Harper then struck out with the count 2-2. Zimmerman hit a hard grounder that first baseman T.J. Rivera made a tough play on, retiring the Z-Man but moving both runners up 90 feet. The Mets intentionally walked Daniel Murphy to load the bases for Rendon, who squared up a 3-2 pitch but hit it right at Curtis Granderson in center field to end the threat and leave the Nats empty handed.
• After a long breather, Strasburg responded with another quick 1-2-3 inning to preserve the Nats’ one-run lead.
• Werth drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth and broke for second when Lobaton struck out on a 3-2 count. The Nats’ left fielder beat the throw, which got past the shortstop Cabrera and rolled into center field.
Seeing the ball, Werth got up and made a break for third but collided into Cabrera on the way. Second base umpire Angel Hernandez pointed toward Cabrera as if to signal obstruction, prompting Werth to run to third. The throw from center easily beat him to the bag, and the umpires upheld the out call despite Hernandez’s initial signal.
Baker came out of the dugout to argue, but the play stood and Strasburg grounded out to end the inning.
• Strasburg finally ran into some trouble in the fifth, allowing back-to-back hits off the bats of Jose Reyes and Rivera to put two runners in scoring position for catcher Travis d’Arnaud. He worked the count full, then hit a grounder to second where Murphy made a heads up play and nabbed Rivera at third.
Reyes was still able to come in and score, tying the game at one run apiece. But that score wouldn’t last long, as Conforto hit a no-doubt homer with two outs to put New York up 3-1.
• Top of the order up again, Turner made it to first when third baseman Reyes couldn’t handle a bad hop — the fourth straight inning Washington’s leadoff man reached. Taylor followed with his third hit in as many at-bats, hitting a single into left.
Harper was unable to keep the line moving, hit a hard grounder straight at Wheeler that he handled and turned into a 1-6-3 double play. Turner did make it to third, however, and Ryan Zimmerman legged out an infield single to bring his shortstop home. 3-2 Mets.
Zimmerman was the final hitter Wheeler would face, as Mets manager Terry Collins yanked his starter one out short of qualifying for the win. Josh Edgin got the call to face Murphy, and he forced the former Met to fly out to left and send the Nats back to the dugout still down a run.
• Zack Wheeler’s Line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 96 P, 54 S, 10/0 GO/FO
• Strasburg bounced back from his shaky fifth with a six-pitch sixth inning that ended with Werth making a diving catch in left-center to rob Granderson of a double.
• New York trotted out Hansel Robles in the bottom of the inning. He struck out Rendon to get things started, then fell behind to both Werth and Lobaton but was able to retire both for a 1-2-3 frame.
• Strasburg sat at 82 pitches heading into the seventh. He gave up a one-out single to Rivera, but had it quickly erased when d’Arnaud grounded into an inning-ending double play. Baker would send out a pinch-hitter for his starter in the bottom of the inning, ending his afternoon on a high note.
• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 94 P, 63 S, 10/9 GO/FO
• Pinch hitter Chris Heisey struck out on four pitches. Turner drew his second walk of the game, then stole second with Harper at the plate one out later. Harper’s rough day would then continue, as he struck out swinging for his third K of the day.
• Enny Romero got the call to handle the eighth. He got Juan Lagares to fly out to put one man down, but Conforto got ahold of a 3-1 pitch for his second home run of the game to put New York up 4-2. Romero retired the next two hitters he faced, but the Nats went back to the dugout with six outs left to erase the deficit.
• Zimmerman stepped to the plate tasked with starting the comeback against reliever Addison Reed, and did so in dramatic fashion. He launched a 470-foot bomb — the longest in the MLB this season — into the left field seats flooded with Mets fans to make it a 4-3 game.
Neither Murphy nor Rendon were able to get the ball out of the infield, bringing up Werth with two down. The Beard would smack a double down the left field line, but late-sub Matt Wieters flew out to right and the Nats entered the ninth still down a run.
• Unfortunately for the Nats, New York would respond with a home run of its own. Shawn Kelley forced Neil Walker to foul out and Rene Rivera struck out swinging, but Reyes quieted the Nats’ crowd with a solo home run over the scoreboard in right. 5-3 Mets.
• Closer Jeurys Familia got the call for New York to preserve the Mets’ two-run lead. Adam Lind pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot, but lined out to Conforto in left for the first out of the inning. Turner grounded out to first to bring up Taylor as the Nats’ final hope. He struck out on a 2-2 breaking ball and the Nats lost just their second series of the year.
Washington now 16-8.