Josiah Gray struggled for a second straight outing, giving up six runs on seven hits (two of them home runs) and throwing 82 pitches in just three innings of work on the mound in the fourth of five with the New York Mets in Nationals Park this weekend. Gray’s teammates did manage to pick him up, however, working back from 4-0 and 6-3 deficits to tie it up at 6-6 with a three-run fifth, but the Mets strung together three straight hits off Andres Machado in the top of eighth, and a sac fly brought in the go-ahead run in what ended up a 13-6 win.
Gray vs the NYM: After allowing three runs or fewer in each of his first five starts with the Nationals, who acquired him from the LA Dodgers at the trade deadline, Josiah Gray, 23, allowed seven hits, three walks, and six runs in a four-inning start against the Phillies last time out before today.
“They came out swinging,” Gray said after the loss to the Nationals’ NL East rivals, “... they came out attacking early, and then coupled with my command not being there, not being great tonight, that was the result tonight.”
That outing left Gray with a 4.22 ERA, 11 walks, 33 Ks, and a .248/.316/.512 line against in 32 IP for the Nationals.
Start No. 6 with the club began with three straight Mets reaching base, as Jonathan Villar hit a double to left field, Francisco Lindor walked, and Pete Alonso dumped a base-loading line drive into short right. Michael Conforto stepped in next, and hit a 96 MPH 2-2 fastball up the middle for a two-run single and a 2-0 Mets’ lead. Javier Báez was the fifth straight hitter that reached base, with an RBI single to center for a 3-0 lead. Jeff McNeil hit a 2-2 fastball to left-center for a sac fly, 4-0, on the first out. Kevin Pillar popped out for out No. 2, and Gray got a called third strike on Patrick Mazeika to end a long, 38-pitch first.
It was 4-3 when Gray came out for the top of the second inning, but Villar hit a 94 MPH, 3-2 fastball out to left for a one-out solo home run that made it a 5-3 game. Alonso lined one to left for a two-out double on Gray’s 54th pitch, but six pitches later the Nationals’ starter got out of the second at 60 pitches overall.
Báez hit the second home run of the game off Gray on a hanging-a$$ 1-2 slider in the first at bat of the third, 6-3 Mets. Báez’s 28th.
Josiah Gray’s Line: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 82 P, 49 S, 2/1 GO/FO.
Walker vs Washington: Taijuan Walker tossed seven scoreless against the Nationals the first time out against the Mets’ divisional rivals when he faced them back on April 25th, holding the Nationals to just three hits, but he gave up a total of 10 hits and four earned runs in 6 1⁄3 IP when he went up against Washington again in June, taking a loss in what ended up a 5-2 win for the Nats.
Coming into his third start of the season against the Nationals, the right-hander was winless in nine outings, with a 6.45 ERA, 19 walks, 30 strikeouts, and a .256/.333/.517 line against in 44 2⁄3 IP over that stretch, but he took the mound with a 4-0 lead ... and promptly gave up a leadoff home run by Lane Thomas, who hit a 3-1 fastball up in the zone out to left field for a 385-foot blast, 4-1.
Alcides Escobar walked in the next at-bat, and scored one out later when Josh Bell hit a first-pitch splitter from Walker out to center for a two-run shot, his 24th, 4-3.
Walker held the Nationals to three runs through four, as the Mets added to their lead, but he gave up three-straight one-out hits in the Nats’ fifth (by Yadiel Hernández, Lane Thomas, and Alcides Escobar, respectively), which loaded the bases in front of Juan Soto, who singled to center field on a 2-1 sinker to drive in two runs and make it a one-run game, 6-5, and 6-6 on a wild pitch that allowed Escobar to score from third. A walk to Josh Bell in the next at-bat ended Walker’s outing...
Taijuan Walker’s Line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 82 P, 51 S, 6/0 GO/FO.
Lane Schwarber?: Lane Thomas led off the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader with a homer off Mets’ righty Tylor Megill, which was his first career leadoff home run.
With that HR, the 26-year-old outfielder had hits in seven of his last eight games, with five of his 10 hits in that stretch extra-base hits, three doubles, and two home runs.
Thomas led off the bottom of the first today with a home run as well, his second leadoff HR in his career, which gave him hits in eight of his last nine games, with 6 of his 11 hits in that stretch extra base hits.
Bullpen Action: Patrick Murphy took over on the mound for the Nationals in the fourth and struck out two in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
Murphy hit Javier Báez with two out in the top of the fifth, but Báez made an ill-advised try for third on a Jeff McNeil single to center in the next at-bat, and got thrown out at third by Lane Thomas for out No. 3.
Jeurys Familia took over with two on and one out in the fifth and struck out two batters around a HBP to keep it tied at 6-6.
Mason Thompson worked around a leadoff walk in a scoreless, nine-pitch top of the sixth, still 6-6.
Miguel Castro retired the side in order in a nine-pitch bottom of the sixth.
Thompson walked the leadoff hitter again in the top of the seventh, but got a double play grounder out of Pete Alonso to erase the baserunner, and a Michael Conforto groundout ended his second scoreless frame.
Aaron Loup worked around a two-out walk to Josh Bell in a scoreless bottom of the seventh inning.
Andres Machado gave up three straight singles in the top of the eighth, with Javier Báez, Jeff McNeil, and Kevin Pillar connecting for consecutive hits, and a Patrick Mazeika sac fly broke up the tie, 7-6 Mets. Alberto Baldonado took over with two on and one out, and got the second and third outs to keep it a one-run game.
Trevor May worked around a leadoff walk to Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the eighth.
Austin Voth came on for the Nationals in the top of the ninth, and gave up a home run to center on the first pitch he threw, a 78 MPH curve that Francisco Lindor smoked, 8-6 Mets.
Pete Alonso doubled off Voth, and scored on a double to left-center by Michael Conforto, 9-6, and Javier Báez singled, Jeff McNeil walked, and Kevin Pillar stepped in with the bases full of Mets and hit a grand slam to left, 13-6.
Final Score: 13-6 Mets
Nationals now 56-80