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Mets vs. Nationals Recap: On the verge of a sweep, Mets bullpen blows lead, loses game

The Mets couldn't hold on to a late lead and lost the series finale in Washington.

Greg Fiume

With a chance to sweep the Nationals, the Mets came up just short. Although the team took an early lead and maintained it through the top of the seventh, its bullpen surrendered four runs over just two innings to give Washington the victory.

The game started well. Ross Ohlendorf gave up back-to-back doubles to Eric Young Jr. and Daniel Murphy to begin the top of the first, giving the Mets a very early first run of the night. After Murphy moved to third on a long fly out by Josh Satin, he came in to score on a Lucas Duda single. That was it for the scoring in the first, but a second-inning Matt den Dekker home run—the first of his major league career—landed in the second deck in right field at Nationals Park and put the Mets up by three.

Jon Niese served up a leadoff double to Jayson Werth in the bottom of the second, who eventually came around to score on a Tyler Moore single. Washington scored again in the bottom of the fourth on a Scott Hairston single with runners on the corners and just one out.

But Niese answered with a leadoff double of his own in the top of the fifth and moved to third on an Eric Young Jr. bunt. Daniel Murphy singled, and the Mets were ahead by two.

The score remained the same until the top of the seventh inning, but Niese was forced to leave the game early with an apparent injury after five-and-two-thirds innings. Luckily, the injury was just cramping in his left calf, per the Mets, which theoretically shouldn’t keep him out of action at all.

In the seventh, the Mets had Eric Young on second base with two outs, and Josh Satin worked a 3-0 count before drawing an intentional walk. Lucas Duda singled to drive in a run for the second time in the game, and the Mets were up 5-2.

That was it for the Mets’ scoring, though, and it turned out they needed more. Scott Atchison gave up a run in the seventh on a Wilson Ramos single. Scott Rice took over to start the eighth inning, but he surrendered a couple of singles before Bryce Harper, rather unbelievably, put down a sacrifice bunt. With that, Terry Collins called upon Gonzalez Germen.

Anthony Rendon grounded out to score the Nationals’ third run of the night. Ryan Zimmerman then reached on an "infield single" that was the result of a terrible throw by Omar Quintanilla on a ground ball that very well could have ended the inning. The Nationals tied the game on the play, but Jayson Werth made it sting even more with a go-ahead double.

The one-run lead was all Rafael Soriano needed to preserve the Washington win in the ninth, as he set the Mets down in order in that frame.

Watching the Mets take two of three games from the Nationals this weekend was a pleasant surprise, and the Nationals still have a very slim chance of making the Wild Card game. Still, a Mets sweep would have made things even more difficult for their division rivals, and the blown game was a bit disappointing.

The Mets travel to Atlanta for a game at 1:10 tomorrow afternoon. They won’t have a chance to spoil much of anything for the Braves, and Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to make the start.

SB Nation Coverage

* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Federal Baseball Gamethread

Win Probability Added

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Big winners: Daniel Murphy, +9.2% WPA
Big losers: Gonzalez Germen, -52.5% WPA, Scott Rice, -17.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Daniel Murphy’s first-inning double, +9.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jayson Werth’s go-ahead double, -32.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -58.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: +8.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Jayson Werth