With many potent pieces missing from their offensive puzzle, the Mets fall to the Washington Nationals 6-3, who completed a three game sweep over their favorite foes.
Daniel Murphy continued to torment his former teammates with a grand slam in the top of the first, the only unfortunate inning for Met’s starter Zack Wheeler, who settled down too little too late.
Wheeler hit the first batter he faced, then surrendered an infield single to the speedy Trea Turner, who beat out a throw by the hamstrung compromised Asdrubral Cabrera. Bryce Harper’s sharp single through the hole, loaded the bases, setting the stage for Murphy’s 408 ft. blast to the centerfield seats.
Michael Conforto got one back with a leadoff homerun in the bottom of the inning, and was part of Neil Walker’s two run bomb in the third, after singling off of Max Scherzer two batters earlier.
After getting burned for four runs with his primary fastball, Wheeler kept the Mets in contention with his secondary array of curves and sliders.
But the Mets, like golfers that drive for show, but don’t putt for dough, could not advance the few runners that reached base with any amount of small ball.
Josh Smoker relieved Wheeler in the eighth, retiring Adam Eaton and Trea Turner on a ground out and pop up to second. But the pesky Bryce Harper singled to center, and the equally red hot Ryan Zimmerman smacked his sixth homer of the season, doubling the Nationals lead 6-3.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jay Bruce led off with a single off of reliever Oliver Perez, who Dusty Baker, not taking any Met come from behind heroics, immediately removed for Koda Glover.
Walker struck out looking, Granderson grounded out to first, and while Jose Reyes stepped to the plate with Bruce on second, Yoenis Cespedes gave the Citi Field crowd some rally cap hope as he stepped into the on deck circle. But Reyes, who earlier punched a single into shallow center, flied out to left.
Following a much-needed day off, NY will face another NL East nemesis, the Atlanta Braves, who’ll bring the 7-3 RHP Julio Teheran to square off against rookie RHP Robert Gsellman (0-1) vying for his first win of the season.