The Washington Nationals opened their series with the New York Mets on Tuesday night with a thrilling 7-6 extra innings win. The first seven innings were played in under two hours but the Nats bullpen would give away the lead in the eighth, setting up three separate comebacks by Washington in a game that went well over four hours.
Bryce Harper opened the scoring in the bottom of the third by ripping a single to left that scored Danny Espinosa. Ryan Zimmerman pushed the lead to two when he knocked in Jordan Zimmermann with another single off Mets' starter Chris Young. But after the single, the Mets threw the ball all over the infield and Stephen Lombardozzi came home to make it 3-0. Zimmerman ended up on third and Omar Quintanilla was credited with the error.
Jordan Zimmermann had a solid outing for Davey Johnson, allowing just two solo shots in six innings of work. With the 3-0 lead, New York got back in it with Jordany Valdespin and David Wright homers. Valdespin hit in the pitcher's spot and took Zimmermann deep to right. But those two homers in the sixth inning closed the books on the Nats starter, who finished the game with five strikeouts and no walks.
The bullpen, however, could not hold the one-run lead for Zimmermann. The Mets scored two in the top of the eighth to take a 4-3 lead. After Valdespin ripped a double off Sean Burnett, Davey Johnson went to Craig Stammen. But he did not have it, issuing a walk to pinch-hitting Scott Hairston. With runners on first and second, Andres Torres smoked a double off Stammen that brought home both runs.
The Nats were undeterred and made their first of three comebacks on the evening. Ryan Zimmerman came back to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single to right. After he was moved over to second on a groundout, Ian Desmond came through again with a big hit to drive in Zim.
New York would retake the lead yet again in the 10th, with Hairston manufacturing a run off Henry Rodriguez. He led off the inning with a single, promptly stole second, and then moved to third on a groundout. The wild Rodriguez crossed up his catcher Jesus Flores and sent one to the backstop. The Mets led again by one.
But Washington would come right back, taking advantage of some comical Mets' defense. The shortstop Valdespin committed two errors, which evened things at 5-5. The first error allowed Zimmerman to reach base. He was moved to second on groundout and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The second booted ball at shortstop allowed the run to come home. But with the winning run on second, the Nats could not walk it off. Danny Espinosa struck out with Morse on second and then with the bases loaded, Rick Ankiel squandered a 3-0 count an K'ed to end the inning.
After the Mets took their third lead of the game again in the 12th, the Nats would stage their final comeback but this time capitalize on the bases-loaded situation and end it with a walk-off. It was Hairston again who did the damage in the top of the inning for New York, taking emergency reliever Ross Detwiler deep to left. But the heart of the Nats' order responded. Michael Morse and Ian Desmond hit back-to-back doubles off Elvin Ramirez to immediately even it at 6-6 with nobody out. Ramirez then issued two walks to load the bases, but it appeared the Mets may get out of the jam for the second time in extra innings. In strode Bryce Harper, who opened the scoring four hours earlier, for a two-out game winning single. Video of the walk-off winner below:
After the interminable affair, the Nats will now come back on Wednesday night and try to take the series with Edwin Jackson on the hill.
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