For the first six innings of the game, the New York Mets’ offense appeared to have fallen back into familiar patterns. The club was held to just one run and couldn’t seem to figure things out against Erick Fedde or Wander Suero. Once the seventh inning began, however, it was a brand new ballgame for the Blue and Orange, as they scored five runs in the final three frames, culminating in an Amed Rosario walk-off infield single to finish off the victory.
The Mets sent Zack Wheeler to the mound, who has not been able to solve the Nationals so far in 2019. Through three starts, Wheeler owned an unsightly 9.77 ERA against Washington, which included a start in which he walked a season-high seven, and a separate start in which he surrendered a season-worst 11 hits. The fourth time was the charm for Wheeler, who gave the Mets seven strong innings of three-run ball.
Through the first five innings, the only blemish on Wheeler’s record was Juan Soto’s long home run into the Coca Cola Corner to lead off the second inning. From there, Wheeler retired 10 straight before a Trea Turner sixth inning, one out single. Sitting at 99 pitches, Mickey Callaway decided to stick with Wheeler rather that venture into his bullpen.
It was a questionable move that ended up burning the second-year skipper, as Wheeler gave up a one-out single to Gerardo Parra before surrendering a no-doubt-about-it home run to Brian Dozier with two outs in the inning. The hit broke an 0-for-37 streak for Dozier against the Mets, which set the mark for the longest hitless streak for any position player against New York. Wheeler recovered to strike out Yan Gomes to finish the inning, but the damage was done.
The Mets, meanwhile, were not able to score through the first four innings, hitting into inning-ending double plays in both the second and the fourth frames. They finally broke through in the fifth to knot the game up at one. Wilson Ramos led off with a walk, followed by a Carlos Gomez fly out to center field. Fedde then hit Juan Lagares to advance Ramos to second, but the catcher was forced out when Wheeler’s bunt failed to advance the runner. Jeff McNeil came through with a big two-out infield single that deflected off Dozier’s glove and allowed Lagares to score from second. McNeil previously hit a double in the third inning to break a 12 at-bat hitless streak, which was the longest of his career.
The Mets failed to score off Suero in the sixth but got to him in the seventh and took their first lead of the game. Ramos led off the inning with a single, and pinch hitter Dominic Smith walked later on to put runners on first and second with one out following a Gomez strikeout. J.D. Davis then pinch hit for Wheeler and hit an opposite-field home run that barely cleared the right field wall to put the Mets ahead 4-3.
Following a number of offensive substitutions, and with Brandon Nimmo unavailable after he was scratched with a stiff neck, the Mets went with an odd outfield configuration to begin the eighth. The club put Davis in left field, stuck Gomez in center in place of Juan Lagares—Smith hit for Lagares in the previous inning—and McNeil moved over to right for the first time in his career.
The team called on Jeurys Familia to hold the lead, but he faltered right away. Howie Kendrick singled to right to lead off the inning on a ball that almost got past a diving (and inexperienced) McNeil. Turner followed with a double down the left field line that took a weird bounce off the wall and shot past Davis. The play allowed Kendrick to score to tie the game. After an Adam Eaton sacrifice bunt and an Anthony Rendon intentional walk, Callaway called on Daniel Zamora, who immediately surrendered a double to Juan Soto to put Washington back in front. Tyler Bashlor was able to close out the inning, but the Mets still trailed.
New York were far from done, especially against a bullpen with the worst ERA in baseball. Pete Alonso once again brought the late-inning magic, as he crushed a majestic, game-tying home run against Tanner Rainey that landed just fair over the left field foul poll. It was Alonso’s team-leading 16th home run, which set a Mets rookie record for home runs before the All Star break. It was also Alonso’s 11th home run in the seventh inning or later.
After Edwin Diaz worked around a one-out Gomes single to record a scoreless ninth, the Mets went to work in the bottom half of the frame. After Gomez struck out, pinch hitter Adeiny Hechavarria and Davis drew back-to-back walks against Rainey. Dave Martinez brought in Kyle Barraclough, who retired Jeff McNeil on a grounder to second that put runners on the corners with two outs. Amed Rosario came up to the plate an hit a high chopper to Turner, who was unable to throw out the quick-footed Rosario.
The win gave the Mets a six to five edge in the season series over the Nationals in 2019 and dropped their opponent to a season-worst ten games below .500. After getting swept by the Miami Marlins over the weekend, New York has appeared to right the ship following a drama-filled Monday. They will look to make it three in a row and secure a series win as they send Jacob deGrom to the mound to face Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer on Wednesday night.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: J.D. Davis, 60.7% WPA, Pete Alonso, 32.9 WPA, Amed Rosario, 25.4% WPA, Wilson Ramos, 21.2% WPA, Edwin Diaz, 12.1% WPA, Jeff McNeil, 10.1% WPA
Big losers: Jeurys Familia, -42.5% WPA, Carlos Gomez, -30.7% WPA, Zack Wheeler, -14.2% WPA, Daniel Zamora, -12.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -52.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: 102.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: J.D. Davis three-run home run in the seventh, 52.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Brian Dozier two-run home run in the seventh, -36.3% WPA