Bryce Harper’s fifth home run of the season gave the Washington Nationals a 2-1 lead after six this afternoon in the nation’s capital, but the New York Mets rallied to tie it and take the lead with an RBI single by Asdrubal Cabrera and RBI groundout by Todd Frazier in the top of seventh giving the visiting team a 3-2 lead that held up.
Davey Martinez got ejected for the first time in his managerial career for arguing with home plate ump Marty Foster after the umpire tossed Anthony Rendon over a non-reaction to a called third strike, and the Nationals dropped their fourth straight after a 4-0 start with the second straight loss to their NL East rivals.
GIO vs NYM: In three starts opposite the NL East rival New York Mets in 2017, Gio Gonzalez went (3-0) with a 2.25 ERA, four walks, 13 Ks, and a .183/.237/.310 line against in 20 innings, leaving him (14-5) with a 2.93 ERA, 50 walks, 132 Ks, and a .208/.282/.330 line against over 138 1⁄3 innings pitched in 23 career starts against the Mets.
Gonzalez worked around a single (and E:7) and a walk in a 19-pitch first, stranding the first runner to reach base this afternoon, and worked around a one-out single in a 14-pitch top of the second, getting a 4-6-3 double play out of the opposing pitcher, Steven Matz, after a one-out single by Juan Lagares.
A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 third inning pushed Gonzalez up to 43 pitches, and he worked out of bases loaded jam in a 23-pitch fourth before striking out the side in order in a 14-pitch fifth.
Gio strikes out the side in the 5th! pic.twitter.com/LqfoLOY5q9— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 7, 2018
Back-to-back hits by Todd Frazier (double) and Travis d’Arnaud (RBI single) in the sixth tied things up at 1-1 after the Nationals jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the fifth, and the third straight hit for the Mets ended Gonzalez’s outing after 92 pitches in 5 1⁄3 IP.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 92 P, 54 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Harper, Harper, Harper: Nationals’ right fielder Bryce Harper started the second of three with the Mets in D.C. ranked first in the National League in home runs (tied, 4), second in SLG (.857), second in walks (10), third in RBIs (9), and sixth in OBP (.485).
Harper stepped in against Mets’ starter Steven Matz for the first time today with a runner in scoring position at second after Trea Turner bunted his way on and stole his fourth base of the year in the previous at bat, and went down swinging at a 3-2 fastball up high outside. 0 for 1.
A groundout to second in the fourth left Harper 0 for 2 on the day vs Matz, but he got all of a 94 mph 2-2 fastball outside from Hansel Robles and hit it into the left field bullpen for his fifth home run of the season and a 2-1 lead over the Mets after six.
Bryce Harper hit this oppo-boppo to the BACK of the visitor's bullpen! #Nats take 2-1 lead. pic.twitter.com/RfaSaK7f9p— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) April 7, 2018
Harper drew a one-out walk from lefty Jerry Blevins in the bottom of the eighth with the Nats trailing, 3-2, but was stranded two outs later (after having stolen second base).
Team Patience: Davey Martinez’s Nationals started the afternoon as the National League’s leaders with 39 walks, and they were tied for the NL lead in home runs (12), ranked third in runs scored (39), third in SLG (.440), and fourth in OBP (.358).
Brian Goodwin took the first walk of the game from Mets’ lefty Steven Matz with two down in the second, after the southpaw collected five consecutive strikeouts, but the Nationals’ outfielder, who stole second in the next at bat, got thrown out at home on a two-out single to center by Pedro Severino when Juan Lagares charged the soft liner to short center and threw a strike to the plate where Travis d’Arnaud made the tag.
Ejections/#MartyFosterShow: Anthony Rendon wasn’t the first Nationals’ player to react to Marty Foster’s strike zone with some displeasure, but he barely reacted, tossing his bat to the side after a called strike three in the bottom of the third, and before the bat landed the home plate ump decided he’d heard enough, tossing the third baseman and then ejecting Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez, who kicked some dirt around home after earning the first ejection of his major league career. As ESPN.com’s Keith Law likes to say, “#UmpShow.”
Anthony Rendon got ejected for this. pic.twitter.com/8K7TjnuPHP— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) April 7, 2018
MAT + ROE + SB = R [It’s maths!!]: Michael A. Taylor reached first base on an error by Mets’ third baseman Todd Frazier in the Nationals’ half of the fifth, moved up on a small ball bunt called by fill-in skipper Chip Hale, and scored on a bloop single to right by Pedro Severino for a 1-0 lead, which didn’t last long.
Gio Gonzalez gave up a one-out double on a fly to right by Todd Frazier that bounced off the wall in front of the Nationals’ bullpen, and Frazier scored from second on a single to center by Travis d’Arnaud, 1-1 in the top of the sixth.
Matt Grace took over after the third straight hit, and got an out with one pitch, then retired a second batter to keep it tied.
Steven Matz’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 93 P, 59 S, 5/1 GO/FO.
Bullpen Action: Matt Grace finished off the top of the sixth, and after the Nationals took a 2-1 lead on Bryce Harper’s 5th HR of 2018, Brandon Kintzler took over on the mound and gave up back-to-back hits, a leadoff single by Amed Rosario and an RBI double to right field by Asdrubal Cabrera, who tied things up with his third two-base hit of the season, 2-2.
Cabrera took third base on a groundout to short, and scored on a weak grounder to second by Todd Frazier, 3-2 Mets.
A.J. Ramos tossed a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh inning after the Mets took the lead.
Ryan Madson worked the top of the eighth for the Nationals, stranding a two-out walk in a 15-pitch frame.
Jacob Rhame recorded the first out of the Nats’ eighth, then handed the ball over to Jerry Blevins vs Bryce Harper. Harper drew his first walk of the game (and 11th walk of 2018 vs 5 Ks), but was stranded at second base after groundouts by Ryan Zimmerman and Howie Kendrick.
Sean Doolittle tossed a quick, clean, nine-pitch ninth to keep it a one-run game.
Jeurys Familia came on for the save opportunity and retired the side in order in the Nats’ ninth. Ballgame.
Final Score: 3-2 Mets
Nationals now 4-4