Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each knocked in three RBI to lead the Washington Nationals to an 8-2 victory over the New York Mets Monday at rainy Citi Field, handing the Mets their 10th loss in 11 games.
The game was deadlocked at two in the top of the 10th inning when the floodgates opened. Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada, who had three hits on the night, failed to catch a throw from Mets reliever Tim Byrdak (2-2) at second base. The error allowed Roger Bernadina to reach second while Nats catcher Sandy Leon got to first on his weakly hit ball.
Then the Mets’ much-maligned bullpen threw some gas on the fire. Harper slapped a bases-loaded single to give the Nats a 3-2 lead, followed by a three-run double by Zimmerman. Michael Morse finished the scoring with a two-run homer. All the hits went to right-center field off of Pedro Beato.
Harper had given the Nats an early 2-0 lead in the first inning with his ninth home run off of Mets starter Chris Young, a shot to right field. From then on, Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann took over, yielding just two runs in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
However, Young got stronger as the game went on, pitching six shutout innings after his mistake to Harper.
Harper also stole his 13th base in the second inning. He didn’t see much action in right field other than playing catch with Bernadina between innings because of the Nats’ strong pitching. Washington manager Davey Johnson used four relievers, with Tom Gorzelanny (3-2) finishing the game.
David Wright homered to left center in the fourth inning, and Ike Davis hit a solo shot in the seventh that just got over the right field wall, but it was not enough for New York.
Danny Espinosa moved from second base to shortstop and had a hand in fielding three double plays for Washington while filling in for All-Star Ian Desmond, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with an oblique injury.
The National League East-leading Nats (56-39) beat the reeling Mets (47-49) for the seventh time in 10 games this year. Game two of the three-game series is Tuesday night at Citi Field.