The Mets knew coming into this game that they had to score early off Ross Detwiler. The Nationals have a bullpen ERA of 3.26, sixth in baseball. They needed to capitalize early, and they did just that.
The Mets started off the top of the first with Jose Reyes reaching on an infield single. Then, Justin Turner singled to left center and advanced Reyes to second. After a Lucas Duda strikeout, David Wright drove Turner and Reyes in on a three-run homer to deep left center, David’s 12th of the year, which put the Mets up 3-0 to start the game.
The Nats countered in the bottom half, when Michael Morse singled to drive in Rick Ankiel. That was all they could scratch off R.A. Dickey, as he put a stop to the inning by getting Jayson Werth to fly out and end the frame.
The Mets extended their lead in the next inning on a Nick Evans solo shot. It was Evans’ third of the season. Over the past few seasons, Evans has been back and forth between Triple-A and the Mets, not playing more than 50 or so games in the majors in his four years as a Met. This year, however, he has proven to Terry Collins that he can hit, and has received more playing time because of it. Coming into tonight, Evans was hitting .343 in his last ten games to raise his batting average to .264. Evans had another hit later and ended the game 2-4.
Angel Pagan came up big after Lucas Duda and David Wright got on base, driving in both of them on a single that extended the Met lead to 6-1. Pagan may be having a disappointing season overall, but he was hitting .301 with runners in scoring position coming into tonight.
R.A. Dickey made his 29th start of the season, and was a workhorse once again. He battled through six plus innings, while scattering nine hits and allowing only three runs. Everyone knew as he stepped off the mound after facing a batter in the seventh that this wasn’t Dickey’s best game, but it got the job done.
Dickey handed the ball off to the struggling Met bullpen, and they got the job done. Tim Byrdak and Ryota Igarashi pieced together the rest of the seventh inning and Josh Stinson made his major league debut in relief in the bottom of the eighth with the Mets leading 7-1 after a home run by Lucas Duda in the seventh. Stinson was solid. He pitched 1.2 innings and allowed only two hits and struck out two, while throwing 75% strikes. Stinson, after getting a double play in the ninth, allowed a single to Ian Desmond and was yanked in favor of Danny Herrera, who had come over in the K-Rod deal just a few days ago, got the job done and finished up the game.
Back to Dickey, whose final line looks like this:
6 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 SO, 100 pitches (68 strikes)
A very typical Dickey performance. He isn’t the best guy out there, but he is a genius and outsmarts every opponent. He treats the game like a chess match, instead of an MMA fight like other pitchers.
Great game, very good pitching, especially with the bullpen. Igarashi got a clutch out and so did Herrera to put the Nats away. A solid victory all around…