The New York Mets took the rubber game against the Washington Nationals Sunday afternoon en route to their third straight home series win of the season. John Buck did what John Buck does, mash home runs (never really thought I’d be saying that). His seventh homer of the year came in the second inning and was really all the offense the pitching staff would need. The dinger also tied the 32-year-old for third all-time on the Mets list for home runs hit by a catcher in April (Todd Hundley and Mike Piazza hold the franchise record with eight). Dillon Gee pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out six as earned his first win since returning to the mound from surgery on July 13, 2012 to replace a damaged artery in his right shoulder.
Photo by Michael G. Baron
Unlike the Colorado series, the bullpen was able to step up and make sure the early lead New York built would not evaporate. LaTroy Hawkins, Brandon Lyon, Scott Rice, and Bobby Parnell combined to toss 3 1/3 scoreless innings while recording five strikeouts and allowing just one hit. The trio of Lyon (1.29 ERA), Rice (1.00 ERA), and Parnell (1.35 ERA) have been outstanding all season long and came through at an important time as the Mets were coming off a disappointing loss on Saturday that saw them blow a lead against Gio Gonzalez and the Nats. After yesterday’s game, team captain David Wright made his frustrations known according to ESPN New York:
We get five off Gio, we’ve got to win that game,” Wright said. “You’re able to have a big inning like that, and couldn’t capitalize on it. The name of the game is you get some momentum on your side, we got to find a way to go out there and put up zeros, and we weren’t able to do that today.”
It’s great to see the bullpen respond the way they did today as Parnell continues to embrace thrive as the team’s closer. He only has two saves on the season, as a Ruben Tejada throwing error cost him another, but dating back to July 22nd of last season he has put up a ridiculous 1.43 ERA (37 2/3 IP, 31 K, 6 ER).
Frank Francisco will return, eventually, but it won’t be as the Mets closer. That job is under Bobby Parnell’s stranglehold right now and that’s one thing Mets fans have to be happy about after seeing the 28-year-old struggle to find consistent success the past couple of years.