Monday, May 20, 2019

Mets Get Early Jolt, Hold On To Beat The Nationals

Wilmer Font pitching for the Mets on Monday night. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets were back at Citi Field on Monday night after a tough road trip and after a day of soul-searching that included General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen giving Manager Mickey Callaway a vote of confidence.

Wilmer Font got the start for the Mets, his second since being acquired from Tampa Bay on May 6, and he got into trouble quickly.

Nationals leadoff hitter Trea Turner hit one to center field, one hop off the wall, for a double.

Anthony Rendon then worked out a one-out walk, but Font recovered to get Juan Soto to fly out to right field, and then struck out Howie Kendrick to keep the Nats off the board.

In the bottom of the first, against Nationals starter Patrick Corbin, who entered the game with a record of a 4-1 and a 2.91 ERA, the Mets erupted.

With one out, Amed Rosario hit a bomb to deep center that went just over the outstretch glove of Washington center fielder Victor Robles for his fourth home run of the year.

Then, two batters later, Pete Alonso hit a rocket into the seats in left field for another solo home run, and that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead.

That was Alonso's 15th home run, which ties Ron Swoboda for the most home run by a Mets rookie in the first half of a season. Swoboda set the mark in 1965.

The Mets had another scoring chance in the second, as Todd Frazier led off with a single, and then Font got a two-out single, his first Major League hit, to bring Jeff McNeil to the plate, but he flew out to right.

In the third, the Mets kept it going, as Rosario and Wilson Ramos worked out walks, and Frazier hit a two-out single up the middle to drive home Rosario and make it 3-0.

Carlos Gomez was up next, and he got his first hit since his return to the Mets when he launched a double to the track in center field to score Ramos and give the Mets a 4-0 lead.

Font retired the Nationals in order in the second and third, but Rendon led off the fourth with a solo home run to left to get Washington on the board.

Later in the inning, after walks to Gerardo Parra and Victor Robles, he gave up a single to Yan Gomes to make it a 4-2 game.

That was all for Font, who went four innings, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks, with three strikeouts.

Corbin was revived with the Nats' offense giving him some support, as he retired the Mets in order in the fourth and fifth innings.

Drew Gagnon came on to pitch for the Mets in the fifth, when he worked around a walk to Rendon and then he retired them in order in the sixth.

Tanner Rainey came on to pitch for Washington in the sixth, and after he retired the first two, the Mets sent up Robinson Cano to pinch-hit for Gagnon.

Cano, who did not run out balls hit in play in Miami over the weekend, was greeted with a chorus of boos. He responded by lacing a hit up the gap, and he legged it out for a double, to which he got quite an ovation. McNeil then grounded to third base to end the inning.

Jeurys Familia was next out of the Mets bullpen for the seventh inning, and he worked around a leadoff single from Yan Gomes and closed out the inning with Turner hitting into a double play.

Familia stayed on for the eighth, when he struck out Adam Eaton and then gave up a double to Rendon into the right field corner.

The Mets then turned to left-hander Daniel Zamora for Juan Soto, and he dunked one into left field to score Rendon and make it a 4-3 game.

Robert Gsellman was next out of the Mets 'pen, and he got Howie Kendrick to line out to left field and Parra to bounce out to first.

In the bottom of the eighth, with one out, Gomez had nine lives, as he popped one up by the Mets dugout that Nats first baseman Parra dropped. That kept Gomez alive, and he drew a walk against Joe Ross.

Then, it appeared Ross might have picked him off, but Gomez was ruled safe. Washington challenged the call and it was upheld. They then tried to pick off Gomez again, but the throw went up the line and he got to second.

After Lagares grounded to second base for the second out, Dominic Smith was up to pinch-hit against Tony Sipp and he singled home Gomez to make it 5-3 Mets.

Edwin Diaz came on to close it out, and he hit Robles with a pitch to open the inning, and then gave up a single to Gomes.

Kurt Suzuki then popped to left before Turner hit what looked like a double play ball to Smith, who stayed in to play first, but he was only able to get the force at second base. Eaton then popped to left to end it, and Diaz earned his 11th save.

Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of how his team performed in this one compared to over the weekend in Miami, when they were swept by the Marlins, "The at-bats were obviously way more quality. Great pitcher out there (Corbin), one of the best in the game and we grinded it out. Some success against him in the past until that last outing (May 15, when he allowed 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk, 11 strikeouts in a 5-1 Nats win) and then we grinded every at-bat out today. That's how you do it, you get their quality starters out early, whether you score runs off him or not. You grind out at-bats and get their pitch counts up."

On getting two home runs in the first inning, Callaway said, "That was big. You have trouble scoring runs for a couple days and then you pop a couple homers in the first, it does allow you to breathe a little bit. Probably takes a little bit of pressure off Font, he did such a great job of going out there and throwing strike one, very reminiscent of his outing in San Diego (May 8, 4 innings in relief, 2 runs on 3 hits, no walks, and 1 strikeout) where he was getting ahead, and he's got good enough stuff where, if he gets ahead, he's going to have some success. I think we talk about it all the time, no matter who you are, if you fall behind, it's going to be pretty tough, so that's definitely a key for him. That was the game plan going in, figure out what you're throwing over the plate today and throw it for strikes as many times as possible on the first pitch and kind of control that count out of the gate."

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