Rich Hill started the night with a 5.79 ERA in three starts and 14 innings pitched against the Washington Nationals this season, but the 41-year-old, 17-year veteran went a masterful six scoreless innings against the New York Mets’ divisional rivals tonight in the nation’s capital, and he left the game with a 2-0 lead only for his club to blow it in the ninth as the Nationals rallied and tied it up at 2-2.
It went to extras in D.C., but the Mets scored four in the top of the 10th and won this one, 6-2 final, handing the Nationals their sixth straight loss overall.
Nolin vs NY: Two of Sean Nolin’s three starts in the majors this season, in his first year back in the big leagues since 2015, have been against the New York Mets he was facing tonight, in the first game of five with the Nationals’ NL East rivals this long weekend.
The first time, Nolin gave up eight hits and four runs three innings, then in start No. 2, the lefty gave up a total of six hits and two runs, while striking out six.
Assessing his outing, the 31-year-old southpaw told reporters, “I would say overall pretty good, command of most pitches was pretty good, changeup was working for the most part,” and he was happy with the fact that he threw just 71 pitches in 5 1⁄3 IP.
“I felt like I was economical with pitches, like 70-something through the game. So, overall pretty good.”
Start No. 4 for the Nationals’ starter began with a scoreless, 16-pitch top of the first, but he ran into trouble with one out in the Mets’ second. Javier Báez doubled to right field on a 1-1 cutter, and came around on a liner back to the mound by Michael Conforto which caught Nolin on the back of his left shoulder and defected into center field for an RBI single and a 1-0 lead.
Brandon Nimmo walked with one down in the Mets’ half of the third, and scored on a fly ball to right with two out, when Pete Alonso hit a high pop that Juan Soto could not quite get to, and had bounce away him for an RBI triple when it dropped in, 2-0.
Sean Nolin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 102 P, 63 S, 8/3 GO/FO.
Hill vs D.C.: Rich Hill, 41, took the mound tonight winless in his last eleven outings, 10 of them starts, with a 5.01 ERA, 14 walks, 37 Ks, and a .284/.350/.500 line against in 50 1⁄3 IP over that stretch, in which he faced the Nationals three times, once when he was still in Tampa Bay, and twice since he joined the New York Mets in a pre-trade deadline deal.
In those three outings, two of them starts, the 17-year veteran had a 5.79 ERA, four walks, 14 Ks, and a .298/.355/.561 line against in 14 IP.
Tonight in the nation’s capital, Hill tossed three scoreless to start as the Mets jumped out to a 2-0 lead, working around a leadoff single in the first, when Lane Thomas took off from first on a Alcides Escobar liner to right-center and was around second when it was caught, then didn’t touch second base as he made his way back to first. Hill stranded a HBP in the home-half of the second, and a leadoff double in the third, as Luis García connected for the two-base hit, then tried to get a jump on the way to third after the Nationals’ starter, Sean Nolin, popped up a bunt attempt. García got picked off by the Mets’ starter and tagged out after a brief rundown for the second out of a quick inning for Hill.
Riley Adams walked with one out and Luis García doubled with two down in the Nats’ half of the fifth, but pinch hitter Keibert Ruiz popped out to end a 17-pitch frame which left Hill at a total of 66 pitches after five scoreless.
Hill worked around his first, and only, walk in 19-pitch sixth which ended his night after 85 pitches total in six scoreless frames.
Rich Hill’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 102 P, 63 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
Lane’s World: Lane Thomas started the night with hits in four of his last five games, over which he was 6 for 23 with four of the sixth hits (three doubles, and a HR) extra base hits, and made it hits in five of six games with a leadoff single the first time up, though, as we noted above, it didn’t go so well for him once he got on base. He did, however make this really nice, range-y catch...
Bullpen Action: Patrick Murphy took over on the mound for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, and worked around a hit-by-pitch, with a second sort-of hit-by-pitch ending things when Chance Sisco took one up and in that caught the bottom of his bat and bounced out in front of home, allowing Murphy to field it and get the out at first base.
Murphy returned to the mound in the top of the seventh, and gave up back-to-back, one-out singles by Jonathan Villar (2 for 4 tonight) and Brandon Nimmo (1 for 3, BB), but he got Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso to chase high fastballs for the second and third outs of a second scoreless frame.
Seth Lugo worked around a one-out single by Riley Adams in a scoreless bottom of the seventh inning.
Sam Clay worked around a two-out single in a scoreless eighth.
Mets’ lefty Aaron Loup retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Ryne Harper worked around a single and a walk for a scoreless top of the ninth.
Edwin Díaz came on for the save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth inning and gave up an opposite field blast to left on the first pitch he threw to the Nats’ slugger, who was 0 for 3 going into the at bat, 2-1 Mets. Soto’s 24th of 2021. Ryan Zimmerman took a four-pitch, 1-out walk and Andrew Stevenson came on to run for the veteran first baseman, and scored in the next at bat, on a Riley Adams’ double to right-center that Brandon Nimmo couldn’t catch, colliding with catcher Chance Sisco before touching the plate, 2-2.
Adams took third on the play, but Carter Kieboom K’d chasing an 0-2 slider for out No. 2, leaving it up to Luis García, who grounded out to second, sending it to extras.
Austin Voth got the ball in the 10th, and gave up an RBI single by Pete Alonso that put the Mets back up, 3-2.
A one-out intentional walk to Michael Conforto put two on in front of Kevin Pillar, who lined a 1-2 cutter to left for a two-run double and a 5-2 Mets’ lead. Jonathan Villar drove Pillar in to make it 6-2 NY.
Jeury Familia kept the Nationals’ free runner from scoring in a scoreless bottom of the tenth inning.
Final Score: 6-2 Mets
Nationals now 55-78