Jon Lester got his first win of the season with a six-plus inning start against the New York Mets in the nightcap of today’s doubleheader in Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park. Kyle Schwarber homered twice in the win, because, of course, Lester was starting. Schwarber sent a blast to center field in the bottom of the first inning, connecting for yet another leadoff HR, and followed up with a three-run home run to right-center that put the Nationals up 6-0 in the 4th inning of what ended up a 6-2 win in seven.
Lester vs the Mets: Though he hadn’t gone particularly deep in any of the outings, Nats’ left-hander Jon Lester had allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four outings before today, with a 2.41 ERA, seven walks, 11 Ks, and a .263/.325/.421 line against in 18 2⁄3 IP over that stretch, which left the southpaw with a 4.09 ERA, 17 walks, 29 strikeouts, and a .281/.344/.462 line against in a total of 44 IP this season.
Last time out before today, the lefty held the Pirates to two runs on six hits in 5 1⁄3 IP, and he said afterwards he was feeling good overall on the mound.
“Last start was a little bit of a grind, obviously,” Lester said of his 3 2⁄3-inning, 93-pitch start against the Rays in his previous outing, “physically, and just not really feeling very well, but today made some adjustments, and was able to kind of get back to some of the place that I was earlier when I came back, so it was better results, would have liked some quicker innings early on, and we managed to get through it and kind of navigate our way through.”
The veteran lefty tossed a scoreless, 14-pitch first, and came back out with a 1-0 lead in the second, courtesy of Kyle Schwarber, who hit another leadoff home run in the bottom of the first, and retired the side in order in a 10-pitch frame.
Lester worked around a double in a 22-pitch third, and stranded two Mets in a 23-pitch top of the fourth, which left him at 69 pitches overall.
It was 6-0 when Lester returned to the mound in the fifth, and retired the side in order in a 10-pitch frame, and he came back out for the top of the sixth and gave up a one-out single to right by Francisco Lindor, and a double to left by James McCann. With two on and one out, Pete Alonso stepped in and popped out to short left in front of Kevin Pillar, who took a 2-2 cutter for a called third strike and out No. 3. of Lester’s sixth scoreless inning.
Davey Martinez sent Lester back out for the seventh but he gave up a leadoff single by Tomás Nido and a two-run home run by José Peraza before he was done...
Jon Lester’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 62 S, 6/5 GO/FO.
Gsellman vs the Nationals: Working exclusively in relief this season, Robert Gsellman had a 3.65 ERA, a 3.98 FIP, seven walks, 15 Ks, and a .237/.297/.355 line against in 14 games and 24 2⁄3 IP before getting the nod as the Mets’ starter for the nightcap of today’s doubleheader in D.C.
Last time out on the mound, on June 8th, Gsellman gave up four hits and four runs in 2 1/3 IP, but his manager, Luis Rojas said after the first game against the Nationals today, that the right-hander was, “our freshest arm right now,” so he got the nod.
Gsellman gave up a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first tonight, with Kyle Schwarber hitting an 85 MPH 1-1 changeup out to left-center for a no-doubter of a leadoff homer, and a 1-0 Nationals’ lead. No. 14 for Schwarber.
For the 27th time in his career, Kyle Schwarber hit a HR during a Jon Lester start.#NATITUDE // https://t.co/Q3S2lefCHS pic.twitter.com/YgZtdIVXAF— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 19, 2021
A scoreless, eight-pitch second ended the brief outing for the righty...
Robert Gsellman’s Line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 Ks, 1 HR, 22 P, 13 S, 3/1 GO/FO.
Turnon: Trea Turner went 1 for 4 in last night’s series opener, and 3 for 4 with a double in the first game of today’s doubleheader, and was 2 for 2 with a single and a home run the first two times up in the nightcap with the Mets. He finished the night 2 for 3.
Bullpen Action: Mets’ righty Sean Reid-Foley retired the first two batters he faced after he took over on the mound in the third, but Trea Turner got all of a hanging 1-1 slider from the reliever and hit it out to left for a solo shot, his 11th this season, and a 2-0 Nationals’ lead.
Reid-Foley returned to the mound in the bottom of the fourth, and walked leadoff man Yan Gomes, who went first-to-third on a single by Luis García and scored on a ground-rule, run-scoring double by Starlin Castro, 3-0.
Reid-Foley got two outs with runners on second and third, but Kyle Schwarber stepped in next and hit a 94 MPH 0-1 fastball up in the zone out to right-center for a three-run home run and a 6-0 Nationals’ lead. Schwarber’s 2nd of the game and 15th of the season.
We moved Kyle Schwarber to the leadoff spot on June 8.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 19, 2021
In 12 games since, he's hit 6 HRs and 13 RBIs.#NATITUDE // https://t.co/Q3S2lefCHS pic.twitter.com/tF6Xr85JxS
Yennsy Díaz got the final out of the Nationals’ fourth, and came back out for the fifth and worked around a Juan Soto single for a scoreless frame.
Díaz worked around a single in the sixth as well.
Wander Suero came on after Lester faltered in the seventh and gave up a double and a two-out walk before Davey Martinez went to the pen again for Brad Hand, who got the final out.
Final Score: 6-2 Nationals
Nationals now 32-36