It was a 21st century pitching duel in Washington Monday night — both Steven Matz and Stephen Strasburg throwing seven scoreless innings before giving way to their respective bullpens. After the Mets relievers flopped, the Mets were down to their final out in the ninth but were able to tie the game in dramatic fashion. But then they lost it in the bottom of the inning.
Both starters were brilliant. The Mets had a chance in the fourth when Strasburg was momentarily not brilliant. He walked the bases loaded with two outs, but Travis d’Arnaud struck out in a nine-pitch at bat.
The Mets managed just two hits off of Strasburg to go along with those three walks. Matz allowed four hits, striking out four and walking two.
With Strasburg gone, the Mets went to work on the Nationals bullpen, which has been the Nats weak point all season. Brandon Nimmo led off the eighth with a single off Matt Grace and went to second on a Matz sacrifice bunt. Reyes then singled to left. Nimmo tried to score but he was thrown out at the plate. Asdrubal Cabrera walked, and Joe Blanton came on to face Yoenis Cespedes. He grounded out to end the inning.
Jerry Blevins came on for the eighth. The first batter was Mets killer Daniel Murphy, pinch-hitting after getting the night off. He grounded out. But Blevins walked the next batter and then Michael Taylor homered to left to break the ice and give the Nats a 2-0 lead. Blevins walked Bryce Harper and then gave way to Paul Sewald. He got the final two outs to end the inning.
Sammy Solis started the ninth for the Nats. With one out, T.J. Rivera singled. Lucas Duda, the potential tying run, struck out on a questionable pitch for the second out. Matt Albers was called on to get the final out — pinch hitter Curtis Granderson. With two strikes, Granderson homered to right to tie the game in stunning fashion.
Sewald stayed in the game and walked Matt Wieters leading off the bottom of the ninth. A failed bunt attempt resulted in the first out. Josh Edgin came in to face pinch hitter Stephen Drew and promptly walked him. Next was Adam Lind. who flied out to deep center for the second out. The slow-footed Wieters advanced to third. Collins then brought in Fernando Salas to face the righty Ryan Rayburn. He hit a shot to shallow left. Cespedes came on strong to try to make the catch but he just couldn’t get to hit and the game was over. To make matters worse, Cespedes limped off the field. Stay tuned for more on that.
Mets lose 3-2.