The Mets had a tall task in an effort to turn things around on Wednesday afternoon — they had to do it against Stephen Strasburg. Well, the Mets weren’t up to it and now their losing streak stands at six.
The Nationals jumped on Mets starter Jeremy Hefner in the second — Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa hit back-to-back solo home runs to give the Nats a 2-0 lead.
Ike Davis got one of the runs back in the bottom of the second with a solo shot of his own. His 16th homer of the season leads the team.
With one out in the fourth Espinosa doubled to left and Roger Bernadina singled to right. The third base coach held Espinosa there, a questionable decision. It looked like a terrible decision when the next batter hit a grounder to Ike Davis. He threw home and it appeared Josh Thole was going to tag out Espinosa but the ball popped out of his glove on the swipe. Thole was given an error and the Nationals had a 3-1 lead.
Hefner pitched well, going six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) with seven strikeouts.
Of course the bullpen could not keep the game close — Adam LaRoche hit a two-run home run in the seventh off of Tim Byrdak to make it 5-1.
Strasburg just stymied Mets hitters, allowing the one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out 11.
With Strasburg out of the game, the Mets offense could finally get down to work. Henry Rodriguez walked Thole and Andres Torres to lead off the eighth. Craig Stammen came on and walked pinch hitter Scott Hairston to load the bases with no outs. Ruben Tejada flew out to center, too shallow for Thole to score. Sean Burnett was brought in to face Jordany Valdespin. He grounded out to Burnett, but Thole scored to make it a 5-2 game. Drew Storen got the call to take on David Wright with two outs and runners on second and third. Wright grounded out to end an inning in which the Nationals needed four pitchers to retire the Mets offense, which could only manage the one run.
So the Nationals sweep the Mets, 5-2, who have lost 11 out of 12 since the All-Star break and now head West for an 11-game road trip. Their record, which now stands at 47-51, could be much uglier by the time they get back home.