The Mets were intent on giving away Tuesday night’s game to the Nationals. When they wouldn’t take it at first, the Mets just kept on trying, finally losing in 12 innings.
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the third when phenom Bryce Harper singled to score Danny Espinosa.
In the fifth with runners on first and second, Ryan Zimmerman singled to make it 2-0. But Omar Quintanilla threw wildly to home on the play, allowing a third run to score.
Chris Young, making his first start of the season after shoulder surgery, was lifted after five, allowing the three runs (two earned) on six hits, one walk and two strikeouts. He threw 75 pitches, his fastball topping out at a relatively slow 85 mph.
Jordany Valdespin pinch hit for Young in the sixth and got the Mets on the board with a solo home run to right. Later in the inning David Wright also hit a solo shot to dead center to cut the lead to 3-2.
Miguel Batista threw two scoreless innings in his first game back from the disabled list.
The Mets took the lead in the eighth. Valdespin doubled and pinch-hitter Scott Hairston walked. Andres Torres then doubled into the gap in right center to score both runners to make the score 4-3 Mets.
But the Mets couldn’t hold the lead. Ryan Zimmerman led off the eighth with a single against Tim Byrdak. Adam LaRoche hit a grounder to Daniel Murphy that could have been a double play, but Murphy got too anxious and looked towards second before the ball was in his glove. He was able to recover and get LaRoche at first, though. Terry Collins, working with a short bullpen because Jon Rauch is unavailable and the Mets are working with a six-man rotation this time around, then called on Frank Francisco for the five-out save. But he couldn’t do it, allowing a double to Ian Desmond to score Zimmerman and tie the game at four.
Francisco was able to get his five outs, but only to take the game into extra innings. Hairston led off the 10th inning with a single. He promptly stole second and moved to third on a ground out. Nationals manager Davey Johnson oddly chose to pitch to Wright (whom he ordered intentionally walked in a similar situation in the eighth), but it didn’t matter — Hairston scored on a wild pitch by Henry Rodriguez to give the Mets the lead, 5-4.
Bobby Parnell came on in the bottom of the 10th and had to contend with more sloppy defense by the Mets. Ryan Zimmerman led off with an easy grounder to short that Valdespin, who earlier replaced Omar Quintanilla there, booted for an error. LaRoche then hit a grounder to first that Ike Davis bobbled. He was able to get the out at first, but he should have at least gotten the lead runner, if not a double play. Zimmerman then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Parnell walked Michael Morse to put runners on first and third. Ian Desmond then hit a hard grounder to short that should have been a game-ending double play. But Valdespin couldn’t handle it and the tying run scored on his second error of the inning. Parnell struck out Espinosa and Jesus Flores reached on an infield hit to load the bases. But Parnell was able to strike out Rick Ankiel (after falling behind 3-0) to keep the game tied at five.
In the 12th it was Hairston coming through yet again, launching a solo home run into the seats in left field to give the Mets a 6-5 lead.
The last man in the bullpen, Elvin Ramirez, who had pitched a scoreless 11th, didn’t have the same luck in the 12th. Morse hit a leadoff double off the wall in right and Desmond followed with a double of his own to tie the score at six. With one out Desmond advanced to third on a passed ball. Flores was then intentionally walked (during which Ramirez nearly threw a wild pitch that likely would have ended the game) to face pitcher Ross Detwiler. Ramirez couldn’t find the plate anymore. Flores went to second on an actual wild pitch, eliminating the possibility of a double play, and Detwiler walked. On a 3-2 count Xavier Nady hit a grounder to first, Davis threw home for the force for the second out. Harper then singled to left to win the game for the Nationals.
The Mets give it away, 7-6, and blow a chance to take sole possession of first place in the NL East.