By: Reese Nobles
The pivotal series between the Washington Nationals and the NL East leading New York Mets began today at Nationals Park with Max Scherzer (11-11, 2.89 ERA) and Jonathon Niese (8-10, 4.17 ERA) taking the mound for the Nationals and Mets respectively.
In the second inning the Mets took a 2-0 lead fueled by homers by Michael Conforto (6) and Kelly Johnson (13) and added another run in the top of the fourth as Yoenis Cespedes (31) hit a homer out to left field.
The Nationals came back in the bottom of the fourth after Niese walked Ian Desmond to load the bases before Wilson Ramos (13) cleared them with a Grand Slam to left center field that set this Nationals crowd off followed by a double by Jayson Werth to score Michael A Taylor and made it 5-3 Nationals.After the Werth double, Terry Collins pulled his starter and sent in Carlos Torres who struck out Anthony Rendon, walked Bryce Harper and got Ryan Zimmerman to pop a ball up to David Wright.
Nationals manager Matt Williams continued to mismanage the bullpen and had to go through four different relievers to get through the seventh inning,an inning in which the Mets regained the lead with a three run seventh before they retired the Nationals in order. In the eighth Williams sent in Rafael Martin who pitched both the eighth and ninth innings for the Nationals who walked a batter and only allowed one hit while striking out four Mets.
Jeurys Familia came in for the save for the Mets and allowed a single to Jayson Werth before striking out Bryce Harper,Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman .This was the third strikeout for Harper and the tenth for the Mets pitching staff and the Mets won by a score of 8-5
If there is any silver lining to this loss its that this is a series and the Nats can still take ⅔ and move closer to the Mets in the NL East with a 25 games left and a season ending series in New York with these same Mets. Tomorrow the matchup will be Mets ace and recent subject of innings limit talk, Matt Harvey (12-7, 2.60 ERA) and for the Nationals it will be Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.38 ERA) as the Nats try to take ⅔ from the Mets and move to 3 games behind in the division.