In his 10th at-bat of the 2012 season, Michael Morse got into the hit column.
Up in the bottom of the fourth, Morse roped a double to the opposite field in right-center and galloped into second base standing up.
It was a vintage Morse swing and result, and had to feel nice for the big guy after going hitless in his first nine at-bats since coming off the disabled list.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, Morse stayed stuck at second, as Ian Desmond flied out to shallow center and Danny Espinosa struck out swinging to end the fourth.
The Nats have a 1-0 lead through four, with Bryce Harper’s RBI single in the third inning the lone mark on the scoresheet so far.
Harper stayed back on a Chris Young off-speed pitch away and smacked it through the hole on the left side, scoring Espinosa from third and giving the Nats a big two-out RBI.
That was a veteran piece of hitting from the 19-year-old (and yes, I feel like I say that every single night).
Jordan Zimmermann has been fantastic through four innings, allowing just two hits and retiring 12 of the 14 hitters he’s faced.
He’s gotten eight groundball outs and four strikeouts, and the only ball hit in the air has been David Wright’s line drive single to left in the first. Zimmermann is working quickly, and clearly has found a groove against a hot Mets team.
Update: Don’t look now, but Zimmermann is 2-for-2 at the plate tonight and has a home run, single and double in his last four at-bats dating back to his previous start. With the issues in the middle of the order right now, I say let the guy hit cleanup. Kidding. Maybe.
Zimmermann doubled in the fifth, and he and Steve Lombardozzi both came around to score on an incredibly wacky play by the Mets, which saw shortstop Omar Quintanilla’s throw bounce off the top of the stone backstop and go over the screen.
I feel pretty confident in saying we won’t see that again for a while.
The Nats led 3-0 after that bizarre sequence, (which started on a Ryan Zimmerman single,) but Zimmermann promptly gave two runs back on two solo home runs to Jordany Valdespin and David Wright in the sixth. It’s now 3-2 Nats as we go to the seventh.
Update II: Sean Burnett and Craig Stammen have been so good this season, it’s almost shocking to see them falter in a big spot. But that’s what happened in the eighth inning tonight.
Burnett retired the first hitter he faced, then allowed a double to Jordany Valdespin. Stammen came on to try and get the Nats out of a jam, but walked pinch-hitter Scott Hairston and then allowed a two-run double to Andres Torres that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead.
One of the rare times this season when a Nationals reliever not named Henry Rodriguez has given up a lead in the late innings.
Update III: What a seesaw battle this has been.
The Nats knotted it up in the bottom of the eighth when Ian Desmond smoked a two-out, opposite-field single that scored Zimmerman, making it a 4-4 game.
All four of the Nats’ runs tonight have scored with two outs. We go to the ninth all tied up.