WASHINGTON -- After the Mets lost Jeremy Hefner's first nine starts of the season, the right-hander was three outs away from notching his second straight victory. Then came Bobby Parnell's blown save and a 3-2 walk-off loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
New York Mets
Still, the silver lining in the disaster was Hefner's latest solid performance. He allowed only a solo homer to Ian Desmond in seven innings and departed with a 2-1 lead.
The critical sequence, as far as Hefner's outing was concerned, came in the sixth. He struck out Ryan Zimmerman. Then, after walking Adam LaRoche, coaxed a groundout from Desmond on a two-seam fastball for the second straight at-bat to strand the bases loaded and preserve a one-run lead.
"I haven't had much success against him," Hefner said. "He's hit a few homers off of me. And I've mostly stayed away from him. I think it was a good plan -- we talked about it before the inning -- to crowd him a little bit. And that's what we did the two at-bats after he hit the homer. And he grounded out twice.
"Typically, in my career, I would give up a hit there and they would go ahead and that type of thing. For me, confidence-wise and trusting my stuff, that was a big inning for me."
Said Terry Collins: "Jeremy pitched another very, very good game. After giving up the home run, he just bounced back and worked hard and pitched very well. He had the tough sixth inning. He threw a lot of pitches in the sixth. But he managed to come out and have a decent seventh inning and got us to where we wanted. A lot of times -- we've said it before -- you don't have a lot of wiggle room."
As for Parnell's blown save, Hefner said: "It's a little tough, but I'll take Bobby any day. He's been great all year, and today just had a bad day."