Ryan Zimmerman was a scratch for the second consecutive game today, and he's getting an MRI on his hamstring. Never a good sign for the Nats franchise third baseman. The game itself was a roller coaster ride of a game throughout on the way to a Nats 7-6 victory.
The Nats offense was able to get off to a quick start. Ian Desmond hit his third homer of the year on a first pitch fastball, which seems perfectly appropriate for Desi, in the second inning for the early 1-0 lead. Bryce Harper followed up with his own home run in the third, a two-run shot for his sixth on the season, which gave the Nats a 3-0 lead.
Through that point in the game, Gio Gonzalez had been pitching a gem. He had only allowed two base runners through the first three innings. The wheels totally came off in the fourth inning, though. Gio faced 10 batters in that disastrous inning, which wound up being the end of his day. He was unable to control his pitches with any consistency as his outing totally unraveled in the five-run inning, putting the Nats behind 5-3.
That deficit didn't last long, though. Adam LaRoche hit his third homer of the season, a three-run shot, which put the Nats back on top 6-5.
Craig Stammen had what was probably his best outing of the season in long relief of Gio. He pitched the fifth and sixth inning, and he struck out five of the six batters he faced. He didn't allow a base runner, and it was truly incredible to watch. He was one of the the unsung heroes in today's game.
Ryan Mattheus gave up a run in the seventh on a John Buck double, which scored Daniel Murphy, who singled earlier in the evening. Mattheus was unhappy with his performance, and he let the Gatorade cooler in the dugout know his displeasure as he threw the cooler to the ground. The Mets had, once again, tied the game. This time in the seventh inning.
That did not last long, as Harper came up to bat to lead off the eighth and obliterated a first-pitch fastball to right center field for his seventh home run of the year and his second of the game. Harper ended the day 3-for-3 with three runs scored and a walk on top. Not a bad day. The Nats had the lead once again, and it was one that they would not relinquish.
Rafael Soriano closed out the game for his sixth save in a 7-6 victory for the Nats' 10th win of the season. It sets up the rubber game at Citi Field on Sunday afternoon before the Nats return home to face the St. Louis Cardinals in what will be a closely watched series following last season's NLDS between the two teams.