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Mets beat Nationals, pull within a game of a Wild Card spot

A big hit from Curtis Granderson and excellent pitching all around helped the Mets win.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Mets are one game out of a playoff spot. As hard as that may be to believe after all of the team’s injuries and up-and-down record over the course of much of the summer, they are there. And they probably wouldn’t be if not for the performance of their fill-in starting rotation, which has exceeded expectations, to say the least.

Robert Gsellman made just his third major league appearance—and only his second start—last night against the division-leading Nationals. He allowed six hits and issued three walks, but he managed to allow only one run in six innings of work. Through those three appearances, totaling 15.2 innings, he has a 2.87 ERA and 3.28 FIP.

The lone run that Gsellman allowed scored in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly from Anthony Rendon, and it didn’t take too long for the Mets to respond. With two outs and nobody on in the top of the third, Jose Reyes drew a walk, and the still-red-hot Asdrubal Cabrera doubled. The Nationals opted to intentionally walk Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases for Curtis Granderson, who’s had a freakishly bad year with runners in scoring position. But Granderson singled on the first pitch he saw to score two runs and give the Mets all the runs they needed to win the game.

James Loney, who hadn’t hit an extra-base hit in, as Howie Rose called it on the radio, “forever” doubled in Travis d’Arnaud to score the Mets’ third and final run of the night in the sixth inning. He did so against Matt Belisle, but after that, five more Nationals relievers pitched and kept the Mets from scoring again.

Four Mets relievers combined to keep the Nationals off the board in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, with Jim Henderson and Josh Smoker splitting the seventh and the excellent duo of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia pitching their usual innings.

On top of the win itself being a big one, the out-of-town scoreboard was very good to the Mets. While the first-Wild Card-leading Giants won, the Cardinals, Marlins, and Pirates all lost. That leaves the Mets a game behind St. Louis for the second spot, a game-and-a-half ahead of Pittsburgh, and two games ahead of Miami. And they’re still 3.5 back of the Giants for that first spot, a gap small enough to continue considering.

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Box scores


Win Probability Added


What’s WPA?

Big winners: Robert Gsellman, +21.0% WPA, Curtis Granderson, +18.1% WPA
Big losers: none
Teh aw3s0mest play: Curtis Granderson singles in two runs in the third, +22.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Anthony Rendon doubles in the sixth, -10.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +39.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: +10.6% WPA
GWRBI!: Curtis Granderson