Mets Bullpen Buckles On Opening Day; Matt Williams Gets First Win
The Mets were just one strike away from an Opening Day win at Citi Field on Monday before their bullpen coughed up the lead for the second time, not only costing the team a win, but also Juan Lagares’ chance to play hero.
Instead, one of Washington’s young and talented players was given that title. Anthony Rendon hit a three-run bomb off converted reliever John Lannan to cap Washington’s four-run tenth-inning as the Nationals took the first game of the opening series, 9-7, from New York.
Lagares had a go ahead homer to lead the off the eighth inning, off Tyler Clippard on an 0-2 pitch, to put the Mets up 5-4 entering the ninth.
But Bobby Parnell blew his save chance by giving up two hits and a walk, including Denard Span’s game tying double with two outs.
It was a game that started out seeming to favor Terry Collins, but ended up as the first career managerial win for Washington’s Matt Williams.
Andrew Brown got a surprise start, being inserted into the lineup as Daniel Murphy was in Florida with his wife welcoming the couples first child. He took advantage of the opportunity, blasting a 3-run HR in the first inning off Stephen Strasburg, staking the the Mets and Dillon Gee with an early lead.
Adam LaRoche hit a ball that has yet to land off Gee in the second – a two run homer – before Stasburg yielded another run in the bottom of the inning. From there, the Nats’ ace settled in with a total of 10 strikeouts and a no decision on four runs on five hits through six innings.
David Wright had two hits in his first two at-bats and added a two run homer in bottom of the tenth to cut the deficit in half. Meanwhile, Curtis Granderson struck out for three times in his 0-5 Mets debut, and K’d to end to game.
As team, the New York stuck out 18 times.
Dillon Gee had a Dillon Gee kinda day. He struck out five, was charged with four runs on four hits and two walks but could have gotten a win. He left the mound with the lead before the bullpen buckled the first time.
Leading 4-2 in the seventh, Gee began to tire, giving up two hits and walk. He exited with a one run lead, two outs and runners on second and third.
Collins’ called on Carlos Torres, who issued a four-pitch walk, before tapping Scott Rice, whose four pitch walk tied the game. With the bases loaded, Collins then brought on ex-closer Jose Valverde. He struck out Ryan Zimmerman to end the inning and followed it up with a perfect eighth inning, including two more strikeouts, proving to be the opening day bright-spot in the New York pen that otherwise was awful – a combined 3.1 innings, five hits, five runs and two walks.
The Mets (0-1) and Nats (1-0) take Tuesday off and will meet on Wednesday night (7:10).