A.J. Cole struggled through a long, long 36-pitch first, but limited the New York Mets to just one run in the opening frame, then went on to put together a solid six-inning outing in the opener of this weekend’s four-game series in Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park.
Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom was dominant and efficient on the other side, however, holding the Nats to one run on five hits in 7 2⁄3 innings in what ended up a 4-2 win.
Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker gave a number of his regulars (and a few of the backups who have been playing regularly with all the Nats’ injuries) a night off after a late flight home from Houston this morning, fielding a lineup that was overmatched for most of the night against the Mets’ ace, who led the visiting team to a series-opening win.
Nationals now 76-50
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• A.J. Cole issued leadoff and one-out walks in the Mets’ first, with the second free pass coming on his 20th pitch of the opening frame. Asdrubal Cabrera drove the first walk (Brandon Nimmo) in with an RBI single to right field on Cole’s 26th pitch of the first, 1-0.
Yoenis Cespedes (the second walk), appeared to have scored on a single toward center field by Dominic Smith, but the ball was called dead after it hit the umpire on the way through the infield, so the bases were loaded instead, and Cespedes apparently injured his leg on the way home and left the game. Cole collected back-to-back Ks from Travis d’Arnaud and Amed Rosario, however, and escaped the early jam with only one run allowed, but 36 pitches thrown.
• Cole was up to 67 pitches after three, with the score still 1-0 Mets. Jacob deGrom worked around one hit in three scoreless on just 39 pitches.
AJ racks up a pair of strikeouts.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 26, 2017
That's through 5 IP. pic.twitter.com/9kH1wl8KKJ
• Adam Lind took a first-pitch curve from deGrom to left for the Nationals’ second hit of the night with two down in the fourth, but he was stranded one out later.
• Jose Lobaton singled with two out in the Nats’ fifth, and A.J. Cole took his first walk in the majors (and fourth as a professional) to put two on, but Andrew Stevenson lined out to third to end deGrom’s fifth scoreless inning. Still 1-0 Mets.
• Cole came back out for the sixth at 96 pitches, picked up a strikeout to match his career-high with eight Ks, and stranded a two-out infield single in a 12-pitch frame that ended his night after 108 pitches.
• A.J. Cole’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 Ks 108 P, 68 S, 2/3 GO/FO.
• Jacob deGrom retired the Nats in order in a quick, 14-pitch sixth that left him at 77 pitches total, with just two hits allowed in six scoreless. Still 1-0 Mets. DeGrom struck out the side in a 15-pitch seventh that left him with 10 Ks total on 92 pitches.
• Matt Grace tossed a quick, scoreless seventh, and came back out for the eighth, giving up a leadoff double to right-center by Juan Lagares and an RBI single by Matt Reynolds, who put the Mets up by two, 2-0. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double off the center field fence to put runners on second and third with no one out.
Dominic Smith’s line drive sac fly to left field played Reynolds and made it 3-0 NY.
#deGrominante...That is all. pic.twitter.com/T2Nr3V2TkJ— New York Mets (@Mets) August 26, 2017
• Joe Blanton took over for Grace and got out of the inning without further damage.
• deGrom came back out for the eighth and gave up a two-out double by Andrew Stevenson and an RBI line drive single to right by Adrian Sanchez that made it 3-1.
That was it for deGrom’s night.
• Jacob deGrom’s Line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 107 P, 78 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
• Jerry Blevins took over with a runner on first and two out in the Nats’ eighth and struck Daniel Murphy out to end the threat.
• Blanton came back out for the top of the ninth gave up back-to-back two-out singles with Brandon Nimmo connecting for the first, stealing second, and scoring a liner to center by Juan Lagares, 4-1.
• A.J. Ramos came on for the Mets in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a leadoff home run by Adam Lind on a first-pitch curve, 4-2.
Wilmer Difo doubled to right to get Nationals Park buzzing, but Michael A. Taylor popped out. Anthony Rendon stepped in for the pitcher, and after a long fly ball toward left tailed foul, he took a walk to put two in in front of pinch hitter Matt Wieters, who walked to load the bases.
Howie Kendrick lined out to right for out No.2, leaving it up to Andrew Stevenson, who K’d looking to end the game. Ballgame. Final Score: 4-2 Mets.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Washington started this weekend’s four-game series with a 126-107 lead over the New York Mets in the all-time series between the two teams, and a 44-25 record against their NL East rivals since the start of the 2014 campaign.
- New York’s Mets started the weekend 3-8 in their last 11 series with Washington, with just one winning season against the Nationals since 2011, in 2015, when they went 11-8 against the Nats.
- Heading into tonight’s game, Nationals’ starter had posted a 1.97 ERA in their last 14 starts.
- Terry Collins’ Mets started the weekend leading the NL in home runs and ranked fourth overall in the majors with 188 home runs on the season.
- The Mets have hit 27 home runs in their last 17 games in Nationals Park heading into this weekend’s four-game series.
- Daniel Murphy started the night 49 for 121 (.405 AVG) against the team that drafted and developed him before he signed on in D.C. as a free agent.
- In today’s Mets-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” update: Rookie shortstop Amed Rosario is 16 for 51 (.314 AVG) with a double, triple, three HRs and five runs scored... since August 11th.
- In a bonus Mets-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Tonight’s starter, Jacob deGrom, is (9-4) with a 2.52 ERA and 97 Ks in 13 starts and 93 innings pitched since June 12th.
Nationals now 76-50