Welcome to MASN’s discussion space for today’s Nationals-Mets game at Nationals Park. I’ll have updates and analysis throughout the day, and if you want to participate, leave your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll respond to you there.
1:05: We’re underway - and Angel Pagan, who’s been agitating the Nationals all season, has gone right at it today. He reached on an infield single, and promptly stole second.
1:12: Danny Espinosa muffs a grounder at shortstop, though it’s ruled a hit for Chris Carter. The Mets have runners on first and third.
1:14: A sac fly for David Wright puts the Mets up 1-0. And then Jordan Zimmermann walks Ike Davis. Not a sharp first inning for him here.
1:21: And now Zimmermann walks Lucas Duda, loading the bases with two out in the first.
1:24: Zimmermann walks Josh Thole, bringing in the second run of the first inning. The Nationals were getting Craig Stammen and Scott Olsen loose in the bullpen, but Zimmermann got out of the first with a lineout to Ryan Zimmerman. Still, he runs the risk of this being a short outing today.
1:29: Zimmermann threw 37 pitches in the first inning - and the scorer just changed Espinosa’s ball to an error, meaning both of the runs against him were unearned. Still, Zimmermann could have gotten out of the inning more quickly. Nyjer Morgan, in his first home at-bat since brawling in Florida last week, got some boos, but also plenty of cheers.
1:44: Adam Dunn singled to right over one of the deepest infield shifts we’ve seen against him this year -- both shortstop Ruben Tejada and second baseman Luis Hernandez were playing well into the outfield. But Dunn dropped a single between them and the Nationals’ outfielders, and has Washington’s first hit of the day.
1:53: Michael Morse is replacing Willie Harris in right for the Nationals, after Harris crashed hard into the right field scoreboard chasing Chris Carter’s double. Harris was down on one knee, and then stood bent over as Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz looked him over.
1:59: Zimmermann gets his first strikeout of the day, fanning Duda on a slider. But then Thole slips a single past Adam Kennedy, and Morse muffs the ball as he tries to throw home. Carter scores, and it’s 3-0 Mets.
2:05: Espinosa makes up for his error, in part, and shows again why he’s got the potential to be such an exciting player. He jumped on a Pelfrey fastball and poked it over the left field wall for his second homer in five games. It’s 3-1 Mets now.
2:25: The Nationals have a pair of runners on in the fourth after Pelfrey walked Adam Dunn and Roger Bernadina. Ivan Rodriguez, who’s coming off a big day in Pittsburgh, will have a chance to tie the game or put the Nationals ahead.
2:29: And he does - Rodriguez doubled to right and scored both Dunn and Bernadina, who touched home plate on a long slide to beat a throw home. We’re tied at three, and Rodriguez went to third on the throw home.
2:30: Now the Nationals lead - Morse singled to center to score Rodriguez. They lead 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth. The Nationals also just announced that Harris is fine, and left the game only for precautionary reasons after crashing into the wall.
2:32: Kevin Mench is pinch hitting for Jordan Zimmermann with two outs in the fourth, meaning Zimmermann won’t get a shot at the win. He recovered nicely after a rough first inning, and didn’t get any help from his defense in the first, but paid the price with his pitch count after walking four batters. Kevin Mench walked in Zimmermann’s place, and Scott Olsen will likely come in for the Nationals.
2:43: The Nationals keep their fourth-inning productivity going here today - they now lead 6-3 after Ryan Zimmerman drew a bases-loaded walk. Adam Dunn stung a liner toward right that would’ve fallen in for a hit if not for the Mets’ shift, but second baseman Luis Hernandez was there to catch it. Still, the Nationals sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning and scored five runs. They now lead 6-3.
3:08: Just posted something on Double-A Harrisburg making the playoffs for the first time since 2002 here.
4:06: Bit of a gap in the blog here -- was meeting up with reader Swooned by June, who’d promised to spring for ice cream a couple weeks ago. Let this be a lesson to you, dear readers: My productivity can absolutely be compromised by ice cream bribes. Anyway, nice to meet you, Swoonie, and thanks again for the ice cream.
Back to the game: What a day for Danny Espinosa. He hit his second homer of the day - and first career grand slam - in the seventh inning, smashing a pitch off the facing of the right-field upper deck and taking a curtain call after he rounded the bases. Then, after getting a standing ovation before what should be his final at-bat of the day, Espinosa doubled. He’s 4-for-5 with two runs, two homers, six RBI and a warning-track flyout as his only out of the day. Scott Olsen was stellar in his first relief appearance, pitching four scoreless, and the Nationals have scored 13 unanswered, leading the Mets 13-3 in the ninth. They have scored 85 runs in their last 11 games, and are about to be 7-4 in that stretch.
4:16: Collin Balester strikes out two in the ninth, and the Nationals win 13-3. An emphatic victory here today, and a stirring performance from Danny Espinosa in his home debut. Back with more in a little bit.