Over his previous two outings coming into today’s start against the Nationals, Mets right-hander Dillon Gee had allowed 12 earned runs and 17 hits over 7 2/3 innings.
This afternoon, Gee has looked like a completely different guy.
The Nationals have been held scoreless through five innings, managing just three hits off Gee and putting only one runner into scoring position thus far.
Gee has struck out six Nationals, this after he’d put up eight Ks through his first three starts of 2013 coming into tonight.
He’s set down seven in a row and 13 of the last 14 Nats he’s faced.
Washington’s 2-4 hitters - Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche - have the three hits, but since a two-on, two-out opportunity in the first, the Nats haven’t threatened.
They’ve struck a few pitches well, but a loud fly ball out is still a fly ball out.
The Mets lead 2-0 mid-way through the fifth, with John Buck’s solo home run in the second and a Mike Baxter sacrifice fly accounting for the two runs off Jordan Zimmermann.
Buck got the Mets on the board with his seventh homer of the season.
After batting .192 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs with the Marlins last season, Buck is off to a scalding start to 2013, and is now hitting .300 with those seven homers and 22 RBIs in 17 games played.
Zimmermann needed 33 pitches to get through the fourth inning, and walked two hitters, but did a nice job limiting the damage. He left the bases loaded in that fourth frame and now is at 76 pitches on the afternoon.
Ian Desmond committed a throwing error in the first inning - his seventh error on the young season. The Nats’ shortstop committed 15 errors all of last season, but is off to a rough start this season from a defensive perspective.
Anthony Rendon is 0-for-2 in his big league debut and was charged with a tough fielding error when he couldn’t handle Desmond’s hard throw to third.
Update: The Nats knocked Gee from the game after 5 2/3, but couldn’t capitalize on three walks allowed by the right-hander in the sixth inning and still trail 2-0.
Denard Span walked leading off the sixth but was thrown out trying to advance on a Gee curveball in the dirt. Harper and LaRoche also walked with two outs, but Desmond struck out looking on a LaTroy Hawkins fastball to end the threat.
Zach Duke is on for the Nats to work the sixth. Zimmermann allowed two runs on two hits over his five innings of work, and for the first time this season, Zimmermann will leave the stadium without a victory on a day that he got the start.
Update II: The Nats have now made three defensive errors today, with Harper getting credited with the third, and a mental error plagued them big-time in the eighth inning, as well.
With two runners on and none out, and Mets left-hander Scott Rice appearing poised to fall apart while holding a 2-0 lead, Werth swung on a 3-0 pitch and grounded into a rally-killing 6-4-3 double play.
Harper then struck out, and just like that, the threat and the inning were over.
Trailing by two runs late in the game, with the red-hot Harper on-deck and a struggling pitcher on the mound, it’s incredibly surprising to see Werth swinging 3-0. Rice had thrown seven balls in an eight-pitch span, and I wouldn’t have been shocked if Werth had even taken back-to-back strikes, forcing Rice to make another quality pitch.
Instead, he swung away at a sinker down in the zone and Rice and the Mets got out of the jam. It’s still 2-0 as we go to the ninth.
Update III: It’s over. The Nats lose to the Mets 2-0 and win just one of the three games at Citi Field during this weekend series.
They made three errors. They managed just four hits. They had a number of other miscues. And now the Nationals are 5-1 against the Marlins this season and 5-7 against everyone else.