Davey Martinez’s Nationals had won seven of their last nine games which were decided by just one run before last night’s series opener with the New York Mets in Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park, leaving them with an 18-23 record overall in one-run games this season.
In the 5-4 loss to their divisional rivals, however, the Nationals were just 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position and nine left on base, struggling to get much of anything going against Mets’ lefty Jason Vargas before Anthony Rendon hit a two-run home run off the southpaw in the sixth to get the home team within one, down 3-2.
The Mets added an insurance run in the top of the eighth, 4-2, but the Nats rallied to tie it on an RBI groundout by Anthony Rendon and an RBI double by Juan Soto in the bottom of the inning.
They stranded the go-ahead run at third, however, when Matt Wieters popped out to end the home-half of the frame with runners on the corners.
Then the Nationals stranded a leadoff double in the eleventh, leaving Ryan Zimmerman at third base after he’d come within 90 ft of home with one down, only to allow what ended up being the winning run to score in the top of the twelfth, when Jose Lobaton hit a sac fly to center to make it 5-4.
“We needed one quality at bat,” Martinez said when asked about the missed opportunities after the loss.
“I mean, we couldn’t get that tonight,” he said. “We had opportunities to win that game, a couple opportunities, a few opportunities, and we couldn’t do it. We just needed that one hit, that one sac fly, just move the ball and we couldn’t do it tonight.”
Will they be able to take advantage of whatever opportunities they can get against Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom tonight?
Considering he’s allowed three runs or fewer in 27 consecutive starts, they’d better if they’re going to have a chance of evening things up in the second game of the four-game set.