There are two ways to make sure the Mets bullpen does not have a chance to blow a game — the starter throws a complete game or the offense scores a lot of runs. Well, complete games are in short supply in baseball these days, so the Mets chose the latter route Thursday afternoon against the Nationals to end their losing streak at six games.
The Mets scored early and often. Andres Torres beat out an infield hit with one out in the first and David Wright followed with a bomb to left to make it 2-0. It was the second straight homer for Wright — he homered in his final at bat Wednesday night. And he wasn’t done for the day.
R.A. Dickey gave one of those runs back in the bottom of the first — Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo homer into almost the exact spot where his pal Wright hit his.
Ike Davis led off the second with a long homer to center. His 14th home run gave the Mets a 3-1 lead.
The offensive parade continued in the third. Ruben Tejada led off with a single. Torres hit a ground rule double to put runners on second and third. Wright was intentionally walked to load the bases. The strategy worked because Scott Hairston grounded into a double play. A run scored, though, to make it 4-1 and Torres moved to third. Jason Bay walked and Torres came around to score when Davis singled to left, making it 5-1.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson surprisingly pulled 12-game winner Gio Gonzalez with Josh Thole on second and one out in the fourth inning. Didn’t matter — Tejada hit a liner to center off of Craig Stammen to score Thole to make it 6-1. Torres walked and then Wright hit another homer, a three-run shot to center to make it 9-1. Wright now has 14 home runs to tie Davis for the team lead. He also has 65 RBIs, one behind Carlos Beltran for the NL lead.
The Nationals added a run in the sixth, and in the eighth Dickey was pulled with another run in and a man on second with one out. That runner would score on a two-out throwing error by Wright. The ball short-hopped Davis, but he should have come up with it and Davis should have been charged with the error. Can’t blame the bullpen for that one.
So Dickey allowed four runs (three earned) in 7.1 innings as he moved his record to 13-1.
Torres is red hot. He went two-for-four, so he is now 10-for-21 since the All-Star break, raising his average from .201 to .232.
The Mets get a much-needed win, 9-5.