WASHINGTON, D.C.: Stephen Strasburg balked in one run and gave up home runs by Yoenis Cespedes (solo shot) and Michael Conforto (a 2-run blast), and Brandon Kintzler gave up a grand slam by Jay Bruce in the seventh as the New York Mets bashed their way to an 8-2 win over Washington in the 2018 home opener in Nationals Park.
#Stretchburg: Stephen Strasburg held the Cincinnati Reds to seven hits, a walk, and three runs (only one of them earned) in his 2018 debut last week in Great American Ball Park.
This afternoon, the 29-year-old righty was back in the nation’s capital for the home opener with the New York Mets in Nationals Park, where Strasburg was (7-2) with a 2.75 ERA, a 2.85 FIP, 21 walks, and 105 Ks in 14 starts and 91 2⁄3 innings pitched in 2017.
Strasburg and the Nationals were up 1-0 when he was charged with a balk with runners on the corners and two out in the top of the second inning, forcing in the Mets’ first run of the home opener, 1-1, and he gave up a solo home run by Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth after the Nats took the lead on an RBI double to left by Anthony Rendon, 2-2.
Yes, he did it again. #DailyDoseOfYo #LaPotencia pic.twitter.com/R2ZzyzMr2U— New York Mets (@Mets) April 5, 2018
Michael Conforto drove in the Mets’ third and fourth runs of the game with a two-out, two-run home run to left that bounced off the top of the fence, driving Kevin Plawecki in after he’d singled to center to start the frame, 4-2 NY. It was originally ruled a double, but called a home run upon review.
Strasburg’s outing ended with a 12-pitch sixth in which he worked around a two-out single.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 92 P, 65 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
Leadoff Mouse: Adam Eaton is proving to be quite the spark plug for the Nationals’ offense, as advertised when he was acquired in the winter of 2016-17. Eaton entered play today 9 for 21 early this season with two doubles, two homers, two walks, and eight runs scored in five games, and he added a double and a run in the home-half of the first, lining a first-pitch fastball from Jacob deGrom to center to lead off the inning before scoring on a single to right by Anthony Rendon, when Mets’ right fielder Jay Bruce misplayed it, 1-0.
Bruce made up for the E:9 in the second, however, doubling to start the frame on a 95 mph first-pitch fastball from Strasburg, taking third one out later on a groundout, and scoring on a balk by the Nationals’ starter, who walked Kevin Plawecki and tried to pick him off at first, 1-1.
Eaton walked with two down in the third inning, and scored from first on a double to left by Anthony Rendon, beating the relayed throw home and sliding awkwardly over the plate, 2-1, but Yoenis Cespedes tied it up with one swing in the fourth, crushing a 95 mph 1-0 fastball from Strasburg and hitting it into the Red Porch seats in left-center field, 2-2. No. 3 of 2018 for Cespedes.
Plawecki singled to start the fifth inning, and he scored two outs later on a two-run HR by Michael Conforto that bounced off the top of the left field fence, 4-2 Mets.
Eaton left the game in the sixth replaced in left field by Brian Goodwin. Was it a result of that slide? We’ll see what Davey Martinez has to say after the game.
RALLY?: Brian Goodwin singled (after taking over for Eaton) and Anthony Rendon walked to put two on with no out vs deGrom in the bottom of the sixth. Bryce Harper stepped in next, and walked to load the bases in front of Ryan Zimmerman, who popped out unproductively to short right for out No. 1.
Howie Kendrick got the second shot with the bases loaded, and lined out to short, and Trea Turner K’d looking at an 0-2 fastball to end a 25-pitch frame by deGrom, then got himself an ejection arguing the called third strike with home plate ump Doug Eddings.
Don't doubt this guy.@JdeGrom19 escapes a bases-loaded jam, we still lead 4-2. #LGM pic.twitter.com/wYYml7QgtT— New York Mets (@Mets) April 5, 2018
Jacob deGrom’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 86 P, 58 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
Bullpen Action: Brandon Kintzler took over for the Nationals in the seventh inning, and gave up a one-out double to right by Brandon Nimmo, then walked Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases with two down before Jay Bruce hit a grand slam to right field to make it 8-2 Mets.
Time to stretch.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 5, 2018
MID 7 // #Mets 8, Nats 2. pic.twitter.com/temfeca5cY
Ryan Madson retired the Mets in order in an 11-pitch top of the eighth. Mets’ righty Hansel Robles worked around a one-out double by Anthony Rendon for a scoreless bottom of the inning, keeping the six-run lead intact.
Sean Doolittle worked around a two-out single for a scoreless top of the ninth to keep it 8-2, but Seth Lugo’s scoreless bottom of the ninth ended it. Ballgame.
Final Score: 8-2 Mets
Nationals now 4-3
BONUS COVERAGE- Managering with Davey Martinez: You might have noticed that Davey Martinez has already had his pitcher in the eighth spot in the lineup in a couple of games on the recently-completed road trip and he did again in the home opener this afternoon with Stephen Strasburg batting eighth and center fielder Michael A. Taylor ninth.
It’s very Joe Maddon of him, yes, but Martinez had his own thoughts on why he decided to go with that lineup configuration.
“For me it was more about batting Michael ninth and turning the lineup over,” the first-year skipper explained. “If we can get Michael on base in front of those other guys, we can have a big inning, and I think also [having] Michael hitting in front of [Adam] Eaton, trying to get him some more fastballs, that will help.”
Taylor went 0 for 3 with a K on the afternoon. Eaton, as mentioned above, left the game after going 1 for 1 with a walk and two runs scored.