Citi Field’s favorite son Wilmer Flores acknowledges the Mets’ faithful following his clutch three run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning last evening that led the New Yorkers to a 9-7 victory over division rival Washington.
There are many ups and downs during the course of a long Major League Baseball season, and it is the successful team that is able to push on from a crushing defeat to get back on the winning track. The Nationals will have that opportunity today following last night’s difficult 9-7 loss to the New York Mets which cut the Nats’ lead in the National League East to three games.
Nationals Record- 51-36
WP- Robles (3-3) LP- O. Perez (2-2) SV- Familia (31
HR- Harper, Was (19), Robinson, Was (4), Rendon, Was (9), d’Arnaud, NYM (2), Reyes, NYM (1), Flores, NYM (8), Cabrera, NYM, (11), Murphy, Was (15)
STARS OF THE GAME
Third Star- Mets’ set-up man Addison Reed was a rare commodity in last evening’s slugfest, namely a pitcher who did his job effectively. Reed retired all four batters he faced, including a strikeout of Washington’s dangerous Anthony Rendon with the potential tying run on second base in the top of the seventh inning. In his last six outings, Reed has allowed only two hits with no runs and 13 strikeouts in seven innings pitched.
Second Star- Asdrubal Cabrera was a nice trade deadline acquisition for the Nationals in 2014, and the switch-hitting infielder did a good job for the Nationals in their run to Washington’s second National League East championship. Cabrera is now toiling for Washington’s chief rival and on Thursday night, he was a key factor in the Mets’ win. First, Cabrera hit his 11th home run of the year in the bottom of the sixth to give the Mets a two run lead. Later in the top of the ninth with Jayson Werth on first and Daniel Murphy at the plate, Cabrera made a tremendous diving stop of a Murphy laser shot that eventually became a double play after the umpires ruled that Werth’s take-out slide at second base was illegal.
Star of the Game- New Yorkers seem to love their reputation as being hard-nosed, no quarters given/none taken kind of people, but they have a soft spot in their hearts for one of their own. Wilmer Flores has achieved “favorite son” status in New York, and he gave his fans another reason to love him last night as his dramatic three run home run off of former Met Oliver Perez gave the Mets a lead they’d never lose in the exciting divisional contest. In his last 10 games, Flores is hitting .385 with five home runs and 10 RBI in 25 at bats.
Valiant in Defeat- Daniel Murphy continues to torment his old team, going 2 for 4 with a long home run (his career high 15th on the year) and even hitting rockets when he was retired. Against the Mets this year, the sweet-swinging second baseman has hit .425 in 40 at bats with a double, five home runs and 14 RBI. Murphy has had multiple hits in seven of his ten games against New York.
Last night marked the 152nd time the Nationals have had at least three home runs in a game. Washington is 121-31 in those games. The Nationals have 17 games in 2016 with at least three home runs this year, and seem primed to easily break the team record of 25 such games in the 2012 season. The Nats have 22 three home run plus games against the Mets since 2005, and have won 19 of those contests.
Oliver Perez had a tough game on the mound last night as he struggled through 1.1 innings pitched and took the loss, but the former Met had a surprisingly good game at the plate. Perez went 2 for 2 with a double and a run scored, making him the first relief pitcher to have two hits in a game since Colorado’s Esmil Rogers went 2 for 3 in the Rockies 10-6 win over San Diego on July 30, 2011. The double was Perez’s second of his career, and his first since July 19, 2008.
When Bryce Harper comes to the plate at Citi Field, boos reign down from the always hospitable New York fans. On many occasions, including last evening, Harper has been able to silence the crowd with one swing of the bat. Harper drilled a mammoth 431 foot home run to center field in the Nationals’ three run fourth inning last night, marking the sixth time (out of eight career home runs in New York) he’s hit a 400 feet plus home run at Citi Field. In terms of distance, last night’s blast trails only a 433 foot bomb Harper hit off of the Mets’ Josh Edgin on April 20, 2013.
All-stars Stephen Strasburg and Noah Syndergaard go up against each other in tonight’s second game of the four game set. In his career at Citi Field, Strasburg is 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched. Syndergaard has allowed more than three runs in only two of his 16 starts on the year, including a season high five runs allowed in a June 27th loss to Washington at Nationals Park.