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Washington Nationals even things up with New York Mets with 7-1 win in Citi Field...

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Washington’s Nationals scored runs in each of the first five innings this afternoon and beat the New York Mets, 7-1.

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Washington’s Nationals, who got shut out by Jacob deGrom last night, scored runs in each of the first five innings this afternoon, building up a 7-1 lead, and Joe Ross put together his third solid start this season, bouncing back nicely from a rough one last time out to go six innings on 91 pitches with just one run allowed on five hits. Final Score: 7-1 Nationals.

Ross vs NYM: Joe Ross tossed a combined 11.0 scoreless innings in his first two outings of the 2021 campaign, but things went all pear-shaped in start No. 3 for the 27-year-old right-hander, who gave up eight hits (four home runs), three walks, and 10 earned runs in 4 13 IP the third time out.

“The ball just got up on him,” manager Davey Martinez said after the 12-5 loss to St. Louis in that game. “He came out the first inning and he was lights out. I thought, ‘Man, this is going to be a good day,’ and then all of a sudden the ball — he just got up, the ball got flat on him. Just a tough day for him.”

Looking to bounce back from the rough outing, Ross took the mound this afternoon in Citi Field with a 1-0 lead, and walked the Mets’ leadoff batter, Brandon Nimmo, who went from first to third on a two-out single by Pete Alonso, but was stranded there at the end of a 20-pitch frame by the Nationals’ starter.

Ross retired seven straight after Alonso’s hit in the first, completing four scoreless on a total of 44 pitches, and he got up to nine in a row before Michael Conforto hit a hanging-a$$ 2-2 slider off the right field foul pole for a solo shot that made it 5-1 in the Nats’ favor after four.

Back-to-back singles followed the home run, but Ross stranded those runners at the end of a 22-pitch frame which left him at 66 total, and he worked around a two-out hit in a 15-pitch fifth, and a hit-by-pitch in the first at bat of the sixth, completing six strong on 91 pitches.

Joe Ross’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 91 P, 59 S, 5/5 GO/FO.

Stroman vs D.C.: Through three outings before this afternoon’s, 29-year-old Mets’ starter Marcus Stroman gave up just two earned runs in 20 IP (0.90 ERA), holding opposing hitters to a combined .149/.197/.209 line in those outings, and he was coming off an eight-inning, 90-pitch start in which he gave up just three hits and one earned run, earning his third win of the season (3-0).

“I think, right now, he’s really confident inducing contact, and that’s what he did in this game, that’s what he did in the first two,” Mets’ manager Luis Rojas said in assessing his starter’s early-season success, as quoted on SNY.tv.

Stroman gave up a run four pitches into the first inning this afternoon, with Josh Harrison, in the leadoff spot today, lining a 1-0 sinker to right for a single in the first at bat, and it kind of skipped on right fielder Michael Conforto and rolled past him to the warning track, allowing Harrison to take third before he scored on a sac fly to left field by today’s No. 2 hitter, Yadiel Hernández, 1-0.

Starlin Castro and Alex Avila took back-to-back, one-out walks in the top of the second, and Joe Ross followed with a two-out RBI single, 2-0.

Yadiel Hernández and Trea Turner hit back-to-back singles to start the Nationals’ third, and after Turner was forced out at second on a Josh Bell one-hopper to first, Kyle Schwarber hit an RBI single to right to bring Hernández in, 3-0, before Bell scored on another RBI single, this one by Starlin Castro, 4-0.

Andrew Stevenson singled to start the Nationals’ fourth, and two outs later scored from third base on an RBI single by Hernández (2 for 2, R, 2 RBIs), 5-0.

Marcus Stroman’s Line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 72 P, 43 S, 6/0 GO/FO.

Early Runs: Davey Martinez talked before today’s game about trying to put up runs early to take a little bit of pressure off his pitching staff after the Nationals were shut out last night, won 1-0 in the series finale with the Cardinals in D.C., and were held scoreless through five before scoring in the sixth inning and adding two in the eighth in this past Tuesday’s 3-2 win over St. Louis.

“I would like to score first today and then we’ll go from there,” Martinez told reporters in his pregame Zoom call with reporters. “When you’re playing from behind or the game is 0-0 going in the fifth or sixth innings, fifth or sixth innings things kind of change a little bit, so let’s try to score a point early or two and we’ll go from there.”

They put one point on the board early today, and added one in the second, two more in the third, and another in the fourth, for a 5-0 lead early in the second of three in Citi Field.

There might be something to this scoring early thing...

Bullpen Action: Stephen Tarpley took over for the Mets in the fifth, and loaded the bases on a walk, single, and walk, before he hit Alex Avila with a first-pitch curveball and forced in run No. 6 for the Nationals, 6-1.

Robert Gsellman took over with the bases loaded and no one out and limited the damage to one run, 7-1, and he came back out for the top of the sixth and retired the Nationals in order, for the first scoreless inning for a Mets’ pitcher today.

Alex Avila walked with two down, but Gsellman completed a scoreless seventh.

Kyle Finnegan retired the Mets in order in a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh. Still 7-1 Nationals.

Jacob Barnes worked a scoreless eighth for the Mets, and Sam Clay came on for the Nats and walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the inning, putting Brandon Nimmo on.

Pete Alonso singled with two out, putting two on, but Clay caught Michael Conforto looking for out No. 3 of a 20-pitch frame.

Jeurys Familia struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Paolo Espino got the ninth for the Nationals and retired the Mets in order. Ballgame.

Final Score: 7-1 Nationals

Nationals now 8-10