Prior to last season, the Mets brought in the fence in left and left-center field at Citi Field in order to make the park a bit smaller, and installed what they call the Party City Deck between the new fencing and the old wall that they had out there.
It’s an area for fans to hang out during the game and get a unique view just above the fence. And it’s also a prime area for souvenirs, especially the last two days.
The Nationals are wearing out that Party City Deck during this series, and Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche are the latest Nats to send balls into that area. Each smoked a solo homer into the Party City Deck in the early innings tonight, and the Nats have a 2-0 lead mid-way through the second.
Werth’s homer was his 23rd of the season, tops on the team. The Nats right fielder came into tonight leading the National League in OPS (.932) and slugging percentage (.534), and this longball will only increase those numbers.
He apparently didn’t see the ball fly over the fence and stopped running when he got to second base. I’m sure his teammates just let that one go without any jokes once he got back to the dugout.
LaRoche’s longball was his 19th of the season and his first since Aug. 17. He had gone 80 plate appearances in between homers.
Both homers came off Mets starter Dillon Gee, who has really held the Nats in check this season.
The Nats have now hit seven homers in their last 11 innings, and have an early lead for Jordan Zimmermann to work with.
Update: Werth ripped a ball toward the Party City Deck again in his second at-bat of the night, but this one came down in the yard. Werth had to settle for a measly little RBI double.
Denard Span came around to score to make it 3-0 Nats. Span reached on a leadoff double down the right field line, extending his hitting streak to 21 games.
Earlier this season, that ball might’ve gotten snagged by the first baseman and turned into a 3-unassisted. That’s how things were going for Span then.
Now it’s a double down the line. That’s how things are going for Span now.
Werth, meanwhile, is now batting .328/.401/.546 this season. What a tremendous season for him.
Update II: Werth cannot be stopped. Three at-bats tonight, three extra-base hits for Werth.
The latest was a leadoff double in the sixth that gave Werth a .329 average for the season. He then came around to score on Wilson Ramos’ two-out single to left, giving the Nats a 4-1 lead.
The Mets had gotten on the board in the fourth on a Daniel Murphy double and a Justin Turner single, but the Nats’ lead is back to three with Ramos’ RBI single.
The Reds, meanwhile, trail the Cubs 6-0 in the fourth. Just saying.
Update III: The Nats’ three-run lead is down to one, and this game is now in the hands of the bullpen.
Zimmermann appeared to hit a wall in the sixth, allowing three straight hits to start the inning, with two runs coming around on Matt den Dekker’s single to left. That brought Davey Johnson from the dugout and brought Craig Stammen in from the bullpen.
Stammen did well to get out of the sixth with the Nats still holding a 4-3 lead, but the Nats will need nine more outs from their relievers in order to leave Citi Field with a win tonight.
The line on Zimmermann: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 85 pitches, 54 strikes.
Update IV: The Nats have gotten three scoreless, hitless innings from their bullpen so far tonight, and they’ll take a 4-3 lead to the ninth.
After Stammen’s scoreless sixth, Drew Storen put up a zero in the seventh despite walking two, and Tyler Clippard then posted a 1-2-3 eighth.
Rafael Soriano will start warming as the Nats look to add some insurance here in the top of the ninth to make this lead a little more comfortable.
Update V: Scott Hairston delivered a huge pinch-hit two-run homer in the top of the ninth and Soriano closed it out in the bottom half of the frame for his 40th save of the season, as the Nats won 6-3.
They’ve hit eight homers over their last two games, tying their two-game high for the season.
The Reds currently trail the Cubs 9-0 in the seventh. A Cincinnati loss means the Nats will be six games back in the wild card chase with 18 games remaining.