The Nationals clinch this series with tonight’s win in CitiField; Finale tomorrow with Roark!

MASN Screenshot

The Nationals led wire-to-wire in this game, but it was way closer than the final score would look like in this 5-to-2 win over the Mets to clinch this series. The Nationals move back to an even .500 and look like a different team.

Every Nationals position player who started the game got on base via hit(s) or walks. The offensive star was Trea Turner who went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and a walk and a stolen base with 2 runs scored. Ryan Zimmerman had a nice single with an RBI to what we can all hope is the start of something.

Gio Gonzalez cruised in this game until he gave up a lead-off hit in the 5th inning to the opposing pitcher who scored along with another run to make it a narrow 3-to-2 game going into the 6th inning. Gio stayed in for the bottom of the 6th inning and got the lefty Jay Bruce out to start the inning. In the first crucial managerial decision of the game, Dave Martinez decided to leave Gio in to get Juan Lagares who hits Gio very well (.413 batting average). Once again, Lagares got a hit to which nobody should be surprised. The bullpen looked ready and Gio stayed in to face the right-handed rookie Tomas Nido who singled under Zimmerman’s glove putting men on the corners. That would finish Gio’s night which should have ended earlier — and the game was certainly on the line and hanging in the balance. It also allowed the crowd of 22,724 to get raucous. While Dave Martinez went against the stats and kept Gio in the game, we have to wonder for a “stats” manager, what was Davey thinking?

Martinez brought in Sammy Solis who inherited the two runners and preferably needed a strikeout to thwart any chance of a productive out scoring a run from 3rd base. Mission accomplished as Solís struck-out pinch hitter Jose Reyes then he got Rosario to pop-up for the 3rd out to strand both runners and keep the lead.

After Solís extinguished the fire, updated stats now have Nationals relievers allowing just 2 of 19 inherited runners to score this season. Their 10.5% marks leads the NL and ranks 3rd in MLB.

“I just liked the match-ups better,” Dave Martinez said in switching roles tonight for Kintzler and Madson.

Martinez went to Ryan Madson for the 7th inning and he was nails. Brandon Kintzler was given a postage stamp sized strike zone and had to throw 27 pitches to achieve a shutout inning in the 8th. The Nationals upped the score to 5-to-2 for some more breathing room. Sean Doolittle quickly got the save in a 1-2-3 ninth inning while striking out Cespedes and Frazier and crushing the Mets’ fans hopes as on this night very few lefty early on this cold night that felt like it was near freezing when the wind blew in.

“I truly liked that we’re doing the little things,” Martinez said. “…that’s how you win games.”

The Nationals certainly did the little things and made plays on defense as Trea Turner turned in some slick plays and Pedro Severino was a blockade behind homeplate and threw out Juan Lagares who was the only Mets player who attempted to steal. Yes, the little things.

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