Mets 3, Nationals 0
Rain or shine, the Washington Nationals have trouble scoring
Jonathon Niese pitched seven sharp innings, some of them in
heavy showers, and Justin Turner hit a two-run double that sent the
New York Mets to a 3-0 victory over the light-hitting Nationals on
Quiet nights at the plate are nothing new for the Nats. They
began the day ranked last in the NL in batting average (.225),
on-base percentage (.298), slugging (.348), hits (302), total bases
(467) and doubles (57).
”There’s nothing to do except work your way out of it, and our
guys are doing that,” manager Jim Riggleman said. ”We’ve kind of
showed signs of it a couple times that we’re coming out of it, but
it’s been a little elusive to really get it going. But the effort,
the intensity has been there.”
With maybe a few thousand hardy souls in the stands on another
soggy night at Citi Field, the Mets’ depleted lineup scratched out
enough offense to help Niese (3-4) win his second consecutive
Playing without injured regulars David Wright, Ike Davis and
Angel Pagan, New York won for the eighth time in 12 games and tied
Washington for fourth place in the NL East.
The Nationals managed eight hits but were shut out for the sixth
time this season.
”We’ve just got to click as a team. We’re just waiting for that
one big hit,” shortstop Ian Desmond said.
Jason Bay had a sacrifice fly in the first inning and Turner
cracked a two-out double in the sixth to chase Tom Gorzelanny (2-3)
after 116 pitches. Jose Reyes singled three times, drew an
intentional walk and scored twice from his leadoff spot.
”I’ve never played in anything like that,” Niese said. ”It’s
the wettest I’ve ever been pitching. … Every ball the umpire gave
me was wet. I had to do my best to rub them dry in my hands.”
With deep puddles forming on the infield, Jason Isringhausen
worked a one-hit eighth and Francisco Rodriguez got three outs for
his 13th save in 14 chances. With two on, he retired pinch-hitter
Laynce Nix and then Roger Bernadina on consecutive flyouts to
Both teams were rained out Tuesday night – the Nationals at home
against Pittsburgh, and the Mets at home against the Marlins. That
came after New York and Florida played through the mist on a muddy
track Monday night.
The announced attendance Wednesday was 24,527, but nearly all
the seats were empty and hecklers could be heard from the
”It was wet and rainy just like it looked, but I think all of
us were kind of itching to play,” Desmond said. ”We were ready to
get back out there.”
After some torrential rain in the afternoon, the heavy stuff
stopped in time to start the game on time – with no more than a
couple hundred fans in the ballpark.
The grounds crew worked hard between innings all night to try to
dry out the infield and it was absolutely pouring when Bernadina
grounded out with the bases loaded to end the seventh.
Still, play went on without interruption.
”I thought the grounds crew did a great job. It got a little
touchy a couple times but I don’t think it had any effect on the
play of the game. Maybe I’m missing something,” Riggleman said.
”Nobody got hurt. I don’t think there were errors made because of
the conditions or anything like that.”
Reyes hit a leadoff single in the first, went to third on
Turner’s double and scored on Bay’s sacrifice fly.
Scott Hairston reached on an infield single to start the sixth,
easily beating a throw from his brother, Jerry, at third base. With
two outs and first base open, Reyes was intentionally walked to
bring up Turner. He doubled to center over the head of the speedy
Bernadina, who was playing shallow.
”He got a good pitch that he could handle,” Bernadina said.
”It was big for them.”
Before that hit, New York was 0 for 9 with runners in scoring
NOTES: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said RHP Stephen Strasburg is
preparing to throw off a mound ”any day now,” the next step in
his recovery from Sept. 3 elbow surgery. … Washington OF Rick
Ankiel (right wrist) is close to beginning a minor league rehab
assignment and could be back in about a week. … Riggleman said
Matt Stairs will probably be the leading candidate to DH against
right-handed pitching this weekend in Baltimore. … 3B Ryan
Zimmerman, who had surgery to repair a tear in his abdominal muscle
on May 3, is at least three weeks away from returning, Riggleman
said. … The Nationals said Rizzo’s grandfather, Vito, died Sunday
in Chicago from natural causes. He was 103. Vito Rizzo also was the
father of Nationals senior adviser to the general manager Phil
Rizzo. ”My grandfather was a long time Chicago railroad worker,
who doubled as a terrific semi-professional ballplayer. A lifelong
fan and student of baseball, it was his passion for the game that
sparked careers in baseball for my father and myself,” Mike Rizzo
said in a statement. … There was a moment of silence before the
game for Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew, who
died Tuesday at age 74.