The Mets can’t seem to hit home runs at Citi Field, but the Nationals have no such problems. They hit 13 of them in this four-game series, including four Thursday afternoon as Washington completed the sweep in front of an intimate crowd of about 150 fans.
The Nationals jumped out to an early lead in the first off of Aaron Harang, making his Mets debut, when Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo home run. Just for the record, I smelled that one coming. Harang struck out the first batter, Denard Span, but almost every pitch was up in the zone. You can’t live up there without eventually being burned, and on his first pitch to Zimmerman (up, of course), he hit it out to dead center. Maybe Harang had too much adrenalin flowing and he was overthrowing a bit.
The Mets tied the score in the bottom of the first. Eric Young led off with a single and moved to second on an inexplicable sacrifice by Juan Lagares. Daniel Murphy doubled to bring home Young to make it 1-1.
Then the rains came, delaying the game for nearly an hour and ruining my plans for the day.
Adam LaRoche hit a solo homer in the second to restore the Nationals one-run lead.
The Mets erased the lead in the fourth. Lucas Duda led off with a single and with one out Mike Baxter singled as well. Anthony Recker doubled to right to bring home Duda to tie the game at two. However, Baxter got thrown out trying to go to third, putting the kibosh on what could have been a big inning.
But the Nationals took the lead again in the fifth, again with a solo home run, this one off the bat of Wilson Ramos.
Harang pitched well over six innings, allowing just four hits. Unfortunately, three of them were home runs. He struck out 10 Nationals and walked one batter. He’s definitely earned another start.
The Nationals made it 4-2 in the seventh when LaRoche doubled off of Pedro Feliciano and eventually scored when Ramos hit a sacrifice fly off of Scott Atchison.
The Mets had the tying runs in scoring position with two outs in the seventh but Juan Lagares struck out to end the inning.
After allowing a run in the eighth, Frank Francisco, who for some reason is pitching for the Mets, plunked Jayson Werth in the back. Werth was not happy. Even Ron Darling said it was done on purpose, calling Francisco a “fool.” Werth later took out Ruben Tejada at second with a late slide. The Nationals added another run when Bryce Harper broke up a double play with a hard slide into second to make it a 6-2 game.
Anthony Rendon completed the home run parade with a solo shot in the ninth.
Mets lose 7-2. They have now lost nine of their last 11 games. The announced crowd was 20,484, but there couldn’t have been more than a couple of thousand people at Citi Field.