With the dark cloud of Matt Harvey considering season ending surgery, the Mets muscled their way into the record books with a 9-7 slugfest over the nemesis Nats.
Relegated to the bench in lieu of Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores entered the game in the 5th, and launched a first pitch fastball for a go-ahead 3 run homer confirming that playing time has got to be on his side.
In a matter of a week, Flores has gone from doghouse to curtain calls out of the dugout, as Mets fans have come to expect something magical whenever he steps to the plate.
Despite Reyes first HR since his return, Flores deserves to be an every day player. So if an overcrowded outfield wasn’t a big enough headache, Collins now must contend with too many cleats at third base.
Bartolo Colon, trying to secure a 1-1 tie in the 4th, surrendered 3 HRs, including back-to back blasts by Clint Anderson and Anthony Rendon. After the Mets rallied in the bottom of the inning with 3 runs of their own, Colon gave up two more, which set the stage for Flores’ dramatic shot heard round the streets of Flushing.
“I thought coming in this was a huge homestand, including these four games,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We’ve got to do everything we can to get as close as we can. … It’s a big series for us.”
Big indeed, as it closed the gap between the NL East rivals by 3 games with 3 more to play before the All Star break.
Baseball’s number one prospect, National’s starter, Lucas Giolito, not as sharp in his rain shortened stint against Harvey, lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits for his second no decision in as many starts.
Daniel Murphy continued to taunt his former teammates with an overturned call at first that broke a 4-4 tie in the fifth, and a HR that brought Washington within one in the top of the seventh.
Murphy was also part of a controversial play in the 9th that reversed what would have been runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs. After Asdrubal Cabrera made a stellar diving stab of Murphy’s sharp grounder, it appeared that Murphy hit into a force play, but second base umpire said that Jayson Werth made an illegal slide into second, resulting in interference, and both were called out.
“I know I’ve been told four or five different things from different crews about the rules and last time I was told it was going to be a common-sense type thing,” Washington manager Dusty Baker said. “I don’t know how you teach young players now to break up a double play, because there’s no such thing as breaking up a double play.”
With a pivotal win in the first of four, Friday, NY’s finest, Noah Syndergaard (9-3) faces his fellow right-handed DC rival Stephen Strasburg (11-0) who was pulled with a no hitter after 6 2/3 innings after 109 pitches on Sunday.