Mets Game 123: Win Over Nationals
Mets 8 Nationals 2
Orlando Hernandez and Shawn Hill locked horns in a good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, with each starter going seven innings and allowing only a pair of runs.
El Duque was wonderful, making only one major mistake — a ball left over the middle of the plate that Wily Mo Pena sent soaring into another solar system for a solo homer in the fourth. The Nats’ first run came home in the third on a cheap blooper by Ryan Zimmerman.
Hill was just as tough, and might have shut out the Mets if not for two fly balls by Carlos Beltran. One of those chased home Luis Castillo as a sacrifice fly, the other was deposited over the rightfield fence for a solo homerun.
Once Hill left the game, however, things changed dramatically.
After El Duque pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh, the Mets reached reliever Jon Rauch for four runs in the top of the eighth. Luis Castillo started the party with a seeing-eye single that barely dribbled through the middle of the infield, and was chased to third on a booming double to deep left-center by David Wright. Beltran was intentionally walked to face Shawn Green, who took one pitch in the dirt before bouncing a ball through the center of the drawn-in Washington infield (nearly the same spot Castillo’s ball found only minutes before) to drive in two go-ahead runs. Rauch overpowered Lastings Milledge for a strikeout, but his troubles continued with Marlon Anderson, who blasted a bases-clearing double to put the Mets up 6-2 and earn Rauch a trip to the showers.
El Duque might have returned for the 8th had the game remained close, but after the Mets went up by four they handed the reigns to Jorge Sosa, who pitched a perfect eighth.
In the top of the ninth, Beltran showed why the Nats walked him to load the bases the previous inning, blasting his second homer of the game — a two-run shot to make the score 8-2.
Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the game, but was whacked in the leg by a liner on the last play … I imagine he’ll be “day-to-day”.
Marlon Anderson had an offensive outburst, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Green also had two RBI as well as a run scored and went 2-for-4 in replacing the ailing but not disabled Carlos Delgado. Wright reached base three times on two hits and a walk; he’s now hitting .312. with a .400 OBP. Beltran finished the day 2-for-3 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.
Sandy Alomar was promoted and Ramon Castro DL’d prior to the game. Alomar caught the entire game and did a fine job, throwing out the one runner attempting to steal.
With this win, the Mets went 17 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Day off on Monday, then the Mets return to Shea on Tuesday to host the Padres for a three-game series. John Maine looks to get back to his first-half form against the towering Chris Young. Game time is 7:10 PM.