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Mets vs. Nationals Recap: d’Arnaud’s two dingers and Nori’s heroics lead the way

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A powerful offense and perfect bullpen lead the Mets to a win.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

There was a time about six months ago you thought this game would be crucially important. As it turned out, the Nationals wrapped up the division race with three weeks to spare and the Mets are more than 20 games behind them. It’s still nice to take down the top dogs of the NL East. Even if it was their B team. And even if you saw plenty of cringe-worthy moments that show how the Mets found themselves in this position.

WIN, 7-6

Robert Gsellman got off to a troubling start well before he gave up a run. The top of the 2nd began with a walk to Adam Lind. The next batter was Victor Robles; he got hit on the hand with the fastball. A wild pitch advanced the runners, which meant little after another walk to Rafael Bautistia. Somehow, this wasn’t the inning when Gsellman’s start unraveled, and he tightroped out of it without giving up a run.

Travis d’Arnaud homered in the bottom half, but by the next inning Gsellman had allowed two more runners on base by the time Adam Lind stepped to the plate. He hit one very far to give Washington a 3-1 lead. The Mets had a chance to answer back in the 3rd, but a baserunning gaffe by Nori Aoki left him doubled up at second base. He’d have chances to redeem himself later on.

Gsellman made matters worse in the 5th, but he got a head start after an error from Amed Rosario left Alejandro De Aza safe at first. Howie Kendrick doubled him home the next batter, and after they intentionally walked Lind, Robles hit a triple past Juan Lagares and the game seemed out of hand. But the Mets fought back, getting to Edwin Jackson in a major way their next turn at bat.

Lagares got on with a bunt single. After a fly out from pinch hitter Gavin Cecchini, Lagares stole second. Aoki knocked him home with a single. He got to second on a Jose Reyes single, and a single from Asdrubal Cabrera got him home to make the score 6-3. Then d’Arnaud really made it a ballgame, crushing a three-run home run to tie it up.

An inning later, Lagares and Aoki made the action happen yet again. This time, Lagares crushed a double down the line off Joe Blanton. Two batters later, Aoki crushed a ball for a ground rule double, a moonshot by his standards. The Mets had a 7-6 lead, and it was up to the bullpen to protect it.

Chasen Bradford tossed a scoreless inning to keep them in the game. Paul Sewald then threw a spotless 7th, disregarding the error he committed trying to catch a ball at first base. He then got two outs in the 8th, but gave way to Jerry Blevins when Daniel Murphy came in to pinch hit. The lefty forced the former Met into a lazy fly out.

A.J. Ramos came in to try the save, and things got very interesting. He walked Wilmer Difo, who would’ve scored on the next batter if not for a phenomenal diving catch by Aoki. Difo did get to third base when Kendrick nubbed one out to right field. Terry Collins then decided to pull out all the stops to shut the door. Josh Smoker did the trick and got Lind out for the first time all game. Then Jeurys Familia came on and struck out Robles for his first save since May.

It was a thrilling win, but also served as a cruel reminder of how haywire this season went for the Mets. Washington is cruising so hard that they started an entire lineup of backups. The Mets are throwing out anyone still able to play. Just imagine how frantic you would’ve felt if this sort of game were happening with playoff implications on the line.

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Win Probability Added

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Travis d’Arnaud, +42.5% WPA, Nori Aoki, +25.7% WPA, Josh Smoker, +21.3% WPA
Big losers: Robert Gsellman, -35.3% WPA, A.J. Ramos, -21.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Travis d’Arnaud’s 3-run home run in the bottom of the 5th, +34.7%
Teh sux0rest play: Adam Lind’s 3-run home run in the top of the 3rd, -25.1%
Total pitcher WPA: 7.7% WPA+
Total batter WPA: 42.3% WPA+
GWRBI!: Nori Aoki