On a brisk day in Washington, D.C., the Mets erased a pair of one-run leads to rally past the Nationals 3-2 behind a beautiful rebound by starter Steven Matz – making amends for his subpar season debut.
The Long Island lefty pitched five innings of one run ball (unearned), scattering three hits along with seven strikeouts and a couple of free passes. And like Matt Harvey before him, Matz didn’t stay long enough at the fair to garner the win.
Seven games in, rookie manager Mickey Callaway’s crew is working on all cylinders with timely hitting, highlight reel defense, aggressive base running and a bullpen that continues to baffle opposing batters.
In the top of the second, fill in center fielder Juan Lagares’ grab and release rocket gunned down Brian Goodwin at the plate, trying to score on a single by Pedro Severino.
Matz held his own the second time through the order, retiring six consecutive batters including a strikeout and dubious ejection of Anthony Rendon, which resulted in the first tossing of new manager Dave Martinez.
Former Yankee Todd Frazier, the best third base gift Madoff’s money could buy, redeemed himself in the sixth drilling a double off the right field wall, an inning after sailing a routine ground ball past Wilmer Flores for the Nats first go-ahead run in the fifth.
Travis d’Arnaud followed up with a game-tying RBI base hit up the middle and prodigal son, Jay Bruce, 2 for 4 on the day, knocked starter Gio Gonzalez off the rubber with a single to right.
Washington wunderkind Bryce Harper took Mets reliever Hansel Robles deep on a fastball off the plate, a good pitch that the hot-hitting right fielder contorted his body for a 2-1 lead.
The Mets got even in their next at bat after Amed Rosario led off with a single, then flew around the bases on Asdrubal Cabrera’s rip roaring double to deep right. Cabrera took third on Yoenis Cespedes’ ground out to short, Michael Conforto was handed a pinch-hit intentional walk, and Cabrera scored on Frazier’s sharp ground out to second that Howie Kendrick bobbled for NY’s go-ahead, eventual winning run.
AJ Ramos turned in a perfect inning of work in an 11-pitch seventh before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. Rookie reliever Jacob Rhame entered the eighth and erased former Met Matt Reynolds, the only batter he faced, giving way to veteran Jerry Blevins who gave up a one out walk to Harper before being replaced by Jeurys Familia. The closer, repeatedly blowing into this cold right hand, recorded five outs for his fourth save.
Sunday Matt Harvey returns to the mound after his strong comeback debut, as the Mets try to sweep their division rivals before a three-game series in Miami against the struggling Marlins.