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Washington Nationals settle for split in Citi Field; drop finale to New York Mets, 8-2

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There was a lot going on in Citi Field this afternoon, where the Nationals dropped the series finale with the Mets, 8-2.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Austin Voth gave up two home runs and threw 86 pitches in four innings of work. Seth Romero gave up a grand slam in his MLB debut. Stephen Strasburg got ejected by the home plate ump for arguing balls and strikes from the stands. Juan Soto homered and made it four blasts in the series. There was a lot going on in Citi Field this afternoon.

In the end, the New York Mets evened things up in the four-game set with Washington’s Nationals by taking the series finale, 8-2.

Voth vs the Mets: With 5.0 scoreless against the Baltimore Orioles last week, Austin Voth got his ERA on the season down to 1.80 after two starts.

Voth claimed the 5th spot in the Nationals’ rotation in Spring Training 1.0/2.0, and the 28-year-old righty has impressed in each of his first two outings of the 2020 campaign.

His outing ended after just five innings against the O’s because his manager noticed a drop in velocity in his final inning of work.

“He goes out there and he’s been doing well. The key for him, is we watch him and all of a sudden his velo drops tremendously. He went from 92 to 88-89, and then his balls got up. We just got to keep an eye on him. But he does well, he does well for five innings, we’ve just got to build him up.”

Start No. 3 for the 28-year-old righty began with a leadoff double by Brandon Nimmo, but three outs later, the Mets’ outfielder was stranded at third base.

Dominic Smith hit a 2-0 fastball out to center in the second, tying things up at 1-1 after the Nationals jumped out to an early lead.

A leadoff single, one-out HBP, and a two-out walk in the third loaded the bases with Mets, but Voth caught the bottom of the strike zone with a 3-2 fastball to Pete Alonso (according to the home plate ump at least) for out No. 3.

Dom Smith doubled to start the Mets’ half of the fourth, and scored one out later when Tomás Nido hit a 2-1 curve from Voth out to left-center for a two-run blast, 3-1 NY. Voth allowed a single and a walk after the blast, but got out of the inning with a 6-4-3 DP on a well-struck one-hopper to short that Trea Turner handled.

Austin Voth’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 HRs, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 86 P, 49 S, 4/1 GO/FO.

Peterson vs the Nationals: A first-round pick by the New York Mets (20th overall in 2017), lefty David Peterson made his MLB debut earlier this season, and heading into today’s start, the 24-year-old had a 3.78 ERA, a 3.99 FIP, six walks, and 14 Ks in 16 23 IP over his first three outings of the 2020 campaign.

Walks around an ROE put the lefty in trouble early this afternoon, as the Nationals loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the first, and after Juan Soto K’d looking on a call Soto didn’t like, Howie Kendrick hit a grounder back to the mound that bounced off of the pitcher and brought in a run, and Jeff McNeil made an all-out effort to bring in a long fly to the wall in left off Asdrúbal Cabrera’s bat for out No. 3. McNeil was banged up and had to leave the game. 1-0 Nationals after a half-inning.

Peterson retired nine straight going back to the first, completing three innings on 42 total pitches, but a HBP on Juan Soto in the first at bat of the fourth ended that streak.

Three outs later, Soto was stranded at first, and Peterson was through four innings on 55 pitches.

Yan Gomes singled to start the fifth inning, connecting for the Nationals’ first hit, but he was forced out at second base on a Trea Turner grounder, and Adam Eaton K’d looking to end a 15-pitch frame that left the Mets’ starter at 74 pitches after five.

David Peterson’s Line: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 74 P, 44 S, 4/5 GO/FO.

Stras Ejected From Stands: The Nationals didn’t like home plate ump Carlos Torres’s zone as Austin Voth tried to work his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, and they let him know it, from the dugout and, apparently, from the stands, because Torres tossed someone, and while everyone was waiting to find out who got the heave-ho, some expletives were thrown around and Stephen Strasburg stood up in the stands, tipped his cap, and walked off to ... somewhere? ... 2020, y’all:

NSFW:

BULLPEN ACTION: Called up officially this morning, when Sean Doolittle went on the 10-Day IL, Seth Romero, who was already with the team in New York as part of the Nationals’ taxi squad, got the call from the bullpen in the fifth inning today, coming on for Austin Voth to make his MLB debut three years after Washington selected the left-hander in the 1st Round of the 2017 Draft.

Romero got Billy Hamilton looking with a 1-2 slider for his first major league strikeout, but Michael Conforto reached on a dribbler toward first in the next at bat.

Pete Alonso lined a 1-0 fastball to right for a single that put two on, but Romero got a K from Dom Smith with a 1-2 changeup inside for out No. 2. A two-out, base-loading walk to Andrés Giménez followed, and after a visit from pitching coach Paul Menhart, Romero gave up a grand slam by Tomás Nido on an 0-2 changeup, 7-1 Mets.

Jared Hughes replaced David Peterson on the mound in the top of the sixth, and gave up a one-out home run to left-center by Juan Soto, whose fourth of the series and fifth of the ‘20 season made it a 7-2 game in the Mets’ favor.

Romero returned to the mound in the bottom of the sixth and issued leadoff and one-out walks, but he got his fourth strikeout for out No. 2 before he was lifted from his debut...

Wander Suero got the final out of the Mets’ sixth to keep it a 7-2 game.

Hughes retired the Nationals in order in the top of the seventh.

Suero returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning and worked around a single, striking out two in a scoreless frame.

Edwin Díaz kept the Mets’ five-run lead intact with a scoreless top of the eighth.

Javy Guerra gave up three straight two-out hits and a run in the bottom of the inning, 8-2.

Brad Brach worked around a two-out hit by Michael A. Taylor and a walk to Trea Turner to end the game.

Final Score: 8-2 Mets.

Nationals now 6-9