It looked like the Mets were going to drop a game they had no business losing. But then the Nationals’ pen struck again. Carlos Gomez delivered a three-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the Mets to a 6-4 win over the Nats Thursday afternoon in Citi Field and a sweep of the four-game series, the first over the Nats/Expos franchise since the early 1990s.
The Mets went to the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead. Robert Gsellman retired two of the first three batters in the eighth but then gave up three consecutive hits to give Washington a 4-3 lead. The last hit came on a letter-high pitch, a surprising offering from a sinker ball pitcher working his second straight day.
But then the Nats’ pen came to the rescue. Wander Suero was greeted by a pinch-hit double by Dominic Smith. Suero looked like he was getting out of the jam, as he struck out the next two batters. After an intentional walk to Wilson Ramos, Gomez got his pitch and didn’t miss it. It was hard to tell who was happier – Gomez or Gary Cohen, who seemed beside himself with the HR call.
We knew the Nats’ pen was not a team strength. But they were even worse than we had any right to expect coming into the series. In 9.2 IP Washington relievers allowed 15 runs, 14 of which were earned. That’s just unbelievably ugly.
For most of the day it was a pitching duel between Steven Matz and Stephen Strasburg. Matz tiptoed through trouble all game while Strasburg for the most part made easy work of a Mets lineup depleted by four starters on the IL. The Mets scored two runs on sac flies and another on an infield single, building a 3-1 lead before the bullpens got involved. The Mets’ bullpen was bad; the Nats’ was horrendous. And that’s how the Mets came up with the sweep.