Harper leads extra-base barrage as Nats win 7-6

The Nationals treated Mets right-hander Jeremy Hefner like a guy with a 7.20 ERA, and had an lead to show for their efforts.

Ian Desmond led off the second inning with his third homer of the season and Bryce Harper crushed a two-run homer into the left field stands at Citi Field in the third, staking the Nats to a 3-0 lead.

But it’s now 5-3 Mets in the fourth, as the Mets have battled back and taken advantage of some wildness that led to a troubling lack of composure from lefty Gio Gonzalez.

With two down, Gonzalez walked Lucas Duda to load the bases after throwing successive curves above the batter’s head. Gonzalez was clearly upset at his inability to snap off a curve against Duda. The next hitter, Collin Cowgill, laced a two-run single to left to cut the lead to 3-2. Ruben Tejada, pinch-hitting for Hefner, walked to load the bases again before Justin Turner, who was 1-for-12 against Gonzalez, grounded a single through short for another two runs and a 4-3 lead. Daniel Murphy’s liner to right plated another run. A fielder’s choice finally got the Nats out of the inning.

That’s three walks and four hits in the fourth against Gonzalez, who allowed five runs with two down. And that’s it for Gonzalez, as Steve Lombardozzi is on to pinch hit for him leading off the fifth.

Gonzalez allowed five runs on five hits, walked four and struck out five in four innings. It’s his second straight poor start after yielding seven runs in five innings in a 9-0 loss to Atlanta last Sunday.

Update: Adam LaRoche got Gonzalez off the hook for the loss with a three-run homer off Aaron Laffey in the fifth. It’s now 6-5 Nationals.

Update II: Craig Stammen has done what Gonzalez didn’t. In two scoreless innings of relief, Stammen has struck out five, including the side in the Mets’ sixth. We’re heading to the seventh with the Nats clinging to a one-run lead.

Update III: It’s tied at 6-6. John Buck just hit an two-down RBI double to left, scoring Daniel Murphy, who reached on a one-out infield single off Ryan Mattheus. The Nats had a chance to get Murphy at the plate, but Desmond bobbled the relay through from Harper. Tyler Clippard is in.

Update IV: Well, that tie didn’t last long. Harper led off the eighth with his second homer of the game, a towering shot to right-center off Josh Edgin, for a 7-6 Washington lead. Harper ties his career high with three RBIs.

Here’s an interesting stat: The Nats have seven hits today, and all are for extra bases - three doubles and four homers.

Update V: Rafael Soriano allowed the tying run to reach base when David Wright walked with two outs in the ninth, then got Buck to ground into a game-ending fielder’s choice. It’s a 7-6 win for the Nationals and Soriano’s sixth save.

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