New York Mets: Jose Lobaton

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Nats 1

August, 5, 2014
8/05/14
10:18
PM ET
WASHINGTON -- To say Zack Wheeler walked a tightrope would be an understatement. Regardless, he ended up barely scathed on the scoreboard … and a winner.

Wheeler faced a pair of baserunners aboard and none out in four of the seven innings he worked and had high early pitch counts (46 through two innings, 65 through three innings). Yet he somehow managed to limit Washington to one run in 6 2/3 innings as the Mets produced a 6-1 win against the first-place Nationals on Tuesday night.

The Amazin's won for only the second time in their last dozen games against the Nats. With 49 games remaining, the Mets (54-59) now trail Washington by seven games.

Wheeler issued three walks and a wild pitch in a rocky second inning, but limited the damage to one run in that frame.


Joy R. Absalon/USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings Tuesday against Washington.


He has now made seven straight starts in which he has limited his opponent to two runs or fewer while logging at least six innings in each appearance. That’s the longest single-season streak by a Mets pitcher since Masato Yoshii went eight straight outings in 1999 allowing two or fewer runs while completing at least six innings in each.

Wheeler's final line in a 109-pitch outing: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.

Thanks! A pair of Nats plays on the bases helped Wheeler improve to 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his past seven starts.

A half-inning after the Mets took a 2-0 lead on Wheeler’s two-out bloop single in front of sliding right fielder Jayson Werth, Wheeler loaded the bases with three walks in the second. With No. 8 hitter Jose Lobaton batting, Wheeler then uncorked a wild pitch that got the Nats on the scoreboard and advanced Ian Desmond to third base and Asdrubal Cabrera to second base.

Lobaton then hit what should have been a run-scoring groundout to shortstop. However, the grounder struck Cabrera as he was running to third base. He was ruled out. And Desmond, who was racing home, was forced to return to third base on the dead ball. Wheeler ultimately stranded Desmond there. He ended the 33-pitch inning by coaxing a flyout from opposing pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

Still clinging to that 2-1 lead in the sixth, Wheeler surrendered a leadoff double to Werth. Adam LaRoche then singled to left field, and Nats third-base coach Bob Henley waved home Werth. Making only his second major league start in left field, natural infielder Eric Campbell threw out Werth for his second career outfield assist. A replay review initiated by the crew confirmed Travis d'Arnaud had not improperly blocked the plate.

Campbell also had an outfield assist May 22 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That happened to be Campbell’s only other major league start in left field. That time, Yasiel Puig was doubled off second base on Hanley Ramirez's lineout.

Adding on: The Mets finally got some breathing room in the seventh.

After Gonzalez departed with a pair of Mets on base and none out, Wheeler laid down a sacrifice bunt against Drew Storen. Juan Lagares was drilled with a pitch in the left arm to load the bases. And Daniel Murphy followed with a two-run single passed Cabrera’s backhand at second base as the Mets took a 4-1 lead. Lucas Duda added an RBI single later in the frame.

Had the recently acquired Cabrera been able to field Murphy’s grounder on the arguably makeable play, the Nats may have escaped with an inning-ending double play, still only trailing by a run.

Ouch: Lagares received an escort off the field from trainer Ray Ramirez and Terry Collins after appearing to twist his left ankle -- and possibly landing on an arm -- on an inning-ending catch in the seventh that stranded a runner at third base. Lagares remained in the game.

Audition flop: Getting a rare start against a left-hander, Duda went 0-for-3 against Gonzalez with two groundouts.

Welcome back: In his return to the majors, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth against Blake Treinen that staked the Mets to a 6-1 lead.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (5-7, 3.24 ERA) opposes right-hander Doug Fister (10-3, 2.68) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.

Series preview: Mets at Nats

August, 4, 2014
8/04/14
11:43
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann in D.C.
METS (53-59, fourth place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (60-50, first place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (6-8, 3.60) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-7, 3.88), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-7, 3.24) vs. RHP Doug Fister (10-3, 2.68), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.77) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.00), 12:35 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

• The Nats acquired free-agent-to-be Asdrubal Cabrera and cash from the Cleveland Indians at Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline for 24-year-old infielder Zach Walters. The intent is for Cabrera, 28, to primarily play second base, displacing switch-hitting Danny Espinosa in the lead role at that position. Cabrera, an All-Star with the Indians in 2011 and ’12, last had started at second base in 2009 (28 games).

Ryan Zimmerman is expected to miss a substantial amount of time with a right hamstring strain. Anthony Rendon has shifted from second to third base minus Zimmerman, which helped fuel Cabrera’s acquisition.


Alex Brandon/Associated PressDenard Span has reached base safely in 30 straight games.


• Catcher Wilson Ramos will be placed on paternity leave before Tuesday’s series opener and is due to miss the entire three-game series. Jose Lobaton and, potentially, Sandy Leon as a call-up will fill in behind the plate.

• Struggling backup outfielder Nate McLouth landed on the disabled list on Monday with right shoulder inflammation. He has hit only .173 this season. Outfielder Steven Souza, 25, has been promoted from Triple-A Syracuse to take the roster spot.

Souza holds several International League-leading totals: a.354 average, .435 on-base percentage, .601 slugging percentage and 70 RBIs. He also has 18 Triple-A homers. He went 1-for-8 with a walk in a major league cameo in April with Scott Hairston on the DL.

Souza should have a backup role considering the Nats have Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth as regulars. He reportedly took grounders at first base Monday, but is not expected to work there in-game anytime soon.

• Span has reached base safely via hit or walk in 30 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors, and matching the second-longest streak in Nationals history. Zimmerman holds the record, with 43 straight games reaching base in 2008. Alfonso Soriano in 2006 also reached base safely in 30 straight.

Span, a center fielder, also has 23 steals. That is approaching the career-high 26 steals he produced in 2010.

• Werth earned the NL Player of the Month award for July. He hit .337 with six homers and an NL-leading 24 RBIs during the month.

Jordan Zimmermann tossed seven scoreless innings in his last start, in an 11-0 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. He has not allowed a homer at Nationals Park in his last nine starts. The last batter to take him deep in D.C.: Miami’s Derek Dietrich, on April 9. Zimmermann has allowed one run or fewer eight times this season. He is the winningest pitcher in Nats history, with a 50-40 record.

Gio Gonzalez has been knocked out in the fourth inning in two of his past three starts. He spent part of May on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Gonzalez has 38 career wins apiece with the Nats and with the Oakland Athletics.

• Rendon homered Saturday, snapping the Nats’ homerless drought at nine games. It was their longest homerless drought since the team moved to D.C. from Montreal in 2005.

• Washington has the top run differential in the National League at plus-76.

Rafael Soriano became the 46th pitcher to notch 200 saves on July 27.

• Shortstop Ian Desmond’s 66 RBIs rank fifth in the NL.

• Washington lost a rainout makeup against Baltimore on Monday night.

• First baseman Adam LaRoche had a rough July, hitting .159 (14-for-88) with one homer. LaRoche’s father Dave has filled in as pitching coach with the Brooklyn Cyclones of late while Tom Signore has dealt with a head-related injury.

• Manager Matt Williams has asked Harper to bunt less frequently.

• Washington's bullpen has surrendered 18 runs in its past 20 2/3 innings.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 9, Rays 6

June, 14, 2012
6/14/12
4:45
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a two-homer game for the first time in his career and the Mets rebounded from their Bronx tailspin by sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays with a 9-6 win Thursday afternoon.

Nieuwenhuis became the first Met to open a first inning with a homer this season.

His second long ball broke a 4-4 tie in the fourth. Lucas Duda followed with a two-run double that inning to give the Mets a four-run lead and chase Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson.

The Mets last produced a sweep in an AL ballpark two seasons ago, when they ran the table in consecutive interleague series at Baltimore and Cleveland.

The three-run margin of victory means the Mets now have finally scored more runs (291) than they have allowed (290) this season.

Tampa Bay produced two ninth-inning runs against Miguel Batista and Frank Francisco and brought the winning run to the plate. Francisco struck out Ben Zobrist with the bases loaded to end it.

STANDING TALL: Jon Rauch had a big pick-me-up for Johan Santana.

With the Mets leading 8-4 in the sixth, Rauch inherited the bases loaded and none out from Santana. Rauch struck out Sean Rodriguez and Jose Lobaton, then retired Elliot Johnson on a groundout as the Rays squandered the comeback opportunity.

Demoted from late-inning work after serving up the game-ending homer to Russell Martin in the series finale at Yankee Stadium, Rauch now has stranded nine of 13 runners this season.

Santana’s final line: 5+ IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K.

Rauch on Tuesday also entered in the sixth inning. That night against the Rays, he coaxed an inning-ending foul pop from Desmond Jennings.

BAY WATCH: Jason Bay, 2-for-25 since returning from the DL, nonetheless delivered his first homer since April 20. The second-inning solo shot staked the Mets to a 2-0 lead.

IKE! Ike Davis continues to work himself out of an offensive rut. Davis delivered an RBI single in the third that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead at the time. He then walked in his next plate appearance. He also drove in David Wright (three runs scored) in the ninth. Davis went 2-for-4 and is now hitting .188.

Davis hit .346 (9-for-26) on the three-city trip, which included the road series in the Bronx. That took him off the hot seat for potentially losing his first-base job with the Mets returning to NL play.

WHAT’S NEXT: Dillon Gee (4-4, 4.42 ERA) opposes right-hander Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 3.79) in Friday’s series opener against the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds. REO Speedwagon performs a postgame concert. The Mets’ top two picks, Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini and Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki, will take batting practice pregame. Cecchini is ticketed for Kingsport, while Plawecki is expected to play for Brooklyn.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187