Mets Take Finale over Nats; Never Do They Quit

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

It seemed for sure the Mets were headed to a three game series sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals Wednesday night at Citi Field. But this this Mets team has shown during the first three weeks of this season that they will not be denied a win.  So the Mets got nine runs and six hits with three walks off the Nationals bullpen in the eighth inning and left for the road with a 11-5 win.

More so, the Nationals are aware this Mets team will be around and giving them a battle for the NL east division title. Last week at Nationals Park New York got the three-game sweep with pitching and timely hitting and this win had the same though Mets’ starter Steven Matz was removed or a pinch hitter after four innings.

Matz removed after 74 pitches may have been out of the ordinary, but in the end manager Mickey Callaway pushed the right buttons.

Because the come from behind win showed the depth of a Mets bench. And their bullpen gave up two runs when Matz was lifted for a pinch hitter.  Juan Lagares broke a 4-4 tie with his pinch hit double in that eighth inning which gave the Mets the lead and the big blow was a slumping Yoenis Cespedes and his sixth career grand slam homerun.

And all of this drama off the Nationals bullpen after starter Tanner Roark limited the Mets with seven innings of two hit ball.

Cespedes hit his fourth home run off reliever A, J. Cole to left off  the right hander. Before that, reliable Ryan Madson who shut down the Mets twice in this series gave up six runs, all of this when Roark came out of the game.

“Madson is our guy,” said manager Dave Martinez. “Hats of to their players, they had good at bats.

But the Nationals looked like a stunned bunch. They were certain about a three-game sweep that got away and real quick with that eighth inning. It’s the Mets never quit attitude that they seemed to have disappeared in losing two of their last three games before this win.

“Goal is to win series but that team over there is good,” said Ryan Zimmerman who accounted for four of the Washington runs with a three-run homer in the first inning off Matz. He also hit a solo shot in the ninth inning off Seth Lugo.

Lugo closed it out for the Mets and that gave the much used Jeurys Familia a night off from gong after another one of those tight save opportunities.

It was really big,” said Mickey Callaway. “The players in that clubhouse are never going to give up. We are going to blow a game here and there and we won’t win some games, but they are never going to stop. That was evidenced tonight.”

And for sure those players in the Washington Nationals clubhouse are aware that the Mets are not going to be easy. They meet again at Nationals Park in July and by then there could be more of a clearer picture as to where this division race is headed.

It is mid April but the Mets with a 13-4 record have the top record in the National League and a hold on first place….

GIO GONZALEZ ELATED TO BE A LATINO MVP: Gio Gonzalez got the win Tuesday night at Citi Field and is 11-1 with a 1.78 ERA at what has become his favorite ballpark. After the Nationals loss he kindly accepted his invitation as recipient of being named 2017 National League Latino Sports writers and broadcasters NL Starting Pitcher of the Year.

The award will be presented to Gonzalez at a date and venue to be determined in the next few months.  This writer informed Gonzalez about the significance of the award and the continuation of a Latino making an impact in the game of baseball.

“I am so honored, “ said Gonzalez.  “To be in the group of others who have received this honor is something not expected. I always wanted this from the beginning being able to play the game and represent Latinos with pride.

A Cuban-American. Gonzalez was raised in Jersey City. He is a three -time All star in eight seasons with Oakland and the Nationals.

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