WASHINGTON -- After eight innings, it looked as if the Washington Nationals had another methodical victory. Two innings later, they were just happy to come away with a win at all.
In those two wild innings there were seven runs, three blown save opportunities, a disputed home run, a game-changing triple by a teenager and a game-winning wild pitch.In the end: A 5-4 win in 10 innings over the New York Mets.
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"That's my kind of ballgame," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.Ross Detwiler and Sean Burnett had shut out the Mets over eight innings, but Tyler Clippard, who's been nearly perfect in the two months he's been Washington's closer, gave up the lead.He allowed a three-run home run to pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin in the ninth, a drive that barely cleared the right-center field railing and moved Johnson to request a review.The Nationals tied it 3-3 in the ninth, the Mets went ahead in the top of the 10th, and then a madcap 10th inning ensued."That's why you come to the ballpark. The first eight innings were kind of boring and the last (two) were unbelievable," Tyler Moore said.Moore was standing at the plate when Pedro Beato threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded in the 10th inning that allowed Ryan Zimmerman to score with the winning run.Bryce Harper tied it in the 10th with a run-scoring triple off Tim Byrdak (2-1) before Beato entered with the bases loaded.Jhonatan Solano led off the 10th with a single. Steve Lombardozzi bunted him to second. Harper tripled to right off Byrdak (2-1) to tie it. Zimmerman and Ian Desmond were walked intentionally to load the bases. Adam LaRoche grounded to first baseman Ike Davis, who threw home to force Harper for the second out.Beato came on to face Moore, and bounced a 1-2 pitch in the dirt. Catcher Josh Thole wasn't able to reach the ball in time, and Zimmerman scored standing up."I didn't know it got away at first. It hit the dirt pretty hard," Moore said.Thole entered the game in the eighth inning after Collins hit for starter Mike Nickeas."I've got to block it. That's the bottom line," Thole said. "I was ready to block it. I just didn't get it done."The loss was the fifth in a row for New York, a season high.The Mets lost their last game before the All-Star break, were swept in three games at Atlanta and have two more with the Nationals before heading home."There's some guys that are really upset in the other room, and they should be," New York manager Terry Collins said. "It's time to reach down inside and pull out whatever you've got left and make something out of the remainder of this trip."Ryan Mattheus (3-1), Washington's fifth pitcher, retired the only batter he faced in the 10th for the win.Harper had his fifth triple, and it was the game's key hit."I got a pitch I could handle, and I was thinking three out of the box," Harper said. "You live for these kind of games."The Nationals increased their lead in the NL East to 3½ games after Atlanta lost 9-0 to San Francisco."We've got a long second half to go, and hopefully we'll have some more of those," Harper said.Moore hit a fifth-inning home run and Lombardozzi had an eighth-inning RBI double for Washington to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead.In the bottom of the ninth, Michael Morse and LaRoche singled off Bobby Parnell. Desmond pinch-ran for Morse, and with two outs, scored on Espinosa's RBI single.Detwiler gave up five hits, struck out four and walked none in seven innings.The Nationals had only three hits off New York starter Jonathon Niese, but one of them was Moore's fifth home run of the year, a one-out shot to right field.Niese struck out eight and walked none.In the eighth, pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa walked with two outs off Ramon Ramirez and Lombardozzi doubled to left off Josh Edgin to make it 2-0.
Desmond didn't start for the third consecutive game with a strained oblique muscle. Johnson made light of the injury's popularity. "The oblique is in in 2012, I guess. Everyone seems to have one. I didn't know they were contagious," Johnson said. ... Nationals OF Jayson Werth will probably be cleared for baseball activities on Wednesday, Johnson said. Werth, who broke his left wrist in early May, is about two or three weeks away from returning to the majors. ... The Mets activated OF Jason Bay from the 15-day disabled list. He had a concussion on June 15. They designated INF Omar Quintanilla for assignment. ... New York OF Lucas Duda missed his third straight game with a strained left hamstring.