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Mets 2, Nats 1 (12): Flores’ walk-off homer ends epic game

Jul 31, 2015, 11:14 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: You want pennant race baseball? Here you go, folks. A few short hours after the trade deadline passed, the Nationals and Mets opened a big weekend series that will play a significant role in the outcome of this season’s NL East race. And it was everything you could want it to be. And some things you never wanted it to be.

Matt Harvey carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, but the New York ace was left with no margin for error because the Nationals pitching staff managed to limit the Mets to one run (with Gio Gonzalez avoiding disaster during a walk-filled bottom of the fourth).

Harvey continued into the top of the eighth, despite a pitch count approaching 110 and command that was losing its sharpness. That’s when Yunel Escobar came through with a game-tying, 2-out RBI single up the middle, dashing the Citi Field crowd’s hopes and leaving Harvey with no decision. Then came Tyler Clippard, facing his old club for the first time, engaging in an epic, 13-pitch at-bat with Jayson Werth that ended on a borderline 3-2 pitch called a strike.

Aaron Barrett tossed two scoreless innings out of the Nationals bullpen, and so this game went into extras. The Nats couldn’t push anything across against Mets closer Jeurys Familia, nor could they do it against Hansel Robles. Robles, though, was helped by a borderline strike three call on Bryce Harper, which left the young star screaming in umpire Jerry Meals’ face … and subsequently getting ejected, forcing Ryan Zimmerman to left field and Dan Uggla to first base for the first time in his career.

That ultimately didn’t affect the outcome of the game. But Wilmer Flores sure did. The Mets infielder, who two nights ago thought he had been traded to Milwaukee, ended this game with a home run off Felipe Rivero that sent the crowd into a frenzy and left New York a mere 2 games behind the Nationals.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: With Harvey fading in the eighth, two out and two on, Escobar delivered the biggest hit of the night (to that point) for the Nationals. He didn’t bite at Harvey’s pitches out of the zone, then managed to get on top of a high fastball and send it back up the middle for a huge, game-tying single that knocked the Mets ace out of the game. It was merely the latest quality at-bat from Escobar, who has proven quite the important acquisition for the Nationals.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: The bad news: Gonzalez was all over the place during the fourth and fifth innings, issuing four combined walks during those two frames and putting himself in all kinds of danger. The good news: Gonzalez somehow was able to emerge from all of that allowing only one run to cross the plate. (Some credit, of course, goes to Tanner Roark for bailing the starter out in the fifth.) Gonzalez was visibly upset at himself — and possibly Matt Williams — as everything played out, but the quick hook was necessary given the situation. With Harvey dealing for the Mets, Williams couldn’t afford to risk pushing his starter any farther.

KEY STAT: Matt Harvey retired 30 consecutive Nationals batters over the span of two starts. The streak began after a Jose Lobaton walk in the third inning on July 20 at Nationals Park. It ended with a Jose Lobaton single in the sixth inning Friday night.

UP NEXT: The series continues at 7:10 p.m. Saturday when Joe Ross (2-3, 3.03) faces Jacob deGrom (10-6, 2.05) in another big game at Citi Field.

  1. manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:18 PM

    Tanner’s non bunt could have easily cost them a run.

    Can Schu coach bunting? If not get a coach to teach bunting.

  2. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    Ihm, just wondering why we didn’t get any in game analysis? Chase was in NY right?

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:21 PM

      Maybe he had dinner reservations?

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:23 PM

        Was at Phantom of the Opera.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:40 PM

        Lol Double H… uhm, I can’t even with Chase….

  3. manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    Auto call can’t come fast enough for me.

    Every week at least 10 bad ones a games . the zone is right front if the ump 4 feet away. How can you have trouble? If so you are in the wrong profession.

    Umps have always been bad behind the plate since I have been watch about 1960. They are seeming to be getting worse as electronic coverage game gets better.

    Thus they need to get better.

    It is not rocket science. It’s in the zone or not. If the ump can’t tell let the computer take care of it.

  4. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    It is completely asinine to pitch Rivero for a third inning instead of Janssen, Thornton or Storen (if Storen was available). Harper getting ejected cannot happen. And his failure to move Werth in the 7th may have cost us the game.

    Horrid game.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:25 PM

      I thought it was going to be a hit but Uribe was not where he usually is.

      Correct Harper needs to keep his cool regardless how blind the ump is.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:19 AM

      +1
      no, when they lose 7-0 tomorrow or sunday, their best relievers will be available ;(

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:21 AM

      +1

  5. ehay2k - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:25 PM

    It didn’t impact tonight’s outcome, but Bryce has to cut out the yelling at the umps.

    Harvey was very good, but I see a lot of pitches on a recovering arm.

    Bunting is not our pitching staff’s strong suit, but it needs to be. Should we get to the WS, pitchers bunting will be huge.

    Tomorrow is another game. Hit Degrom (autocorrect ) changed that to Restroom, just saying…)

  6. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:27 PM

    Last I looked, the season wasn’t over….. and last I looked, it was August 1…. not the end of September.

    #Fail
    #Tryagain

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:30 PM

      Wow, that’s a horrible attitude. Total troll statement.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:30 PM

      Yawn…. but the season isn’t over…

      #stillafail
      #tryagainandagain

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:37 PM

      Mets are better…. yet I look at the standings and I see the Nats in first place… I see a Nats team that was ravaged by injuries all along the field and in their starting rotation and at this time STILL have a 2 game lead on the Mets… oh wait, but the Mets are better

      #stupidityisskinscapswiznats

      Not even worth another reply…

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:39 PM

      Nattygoat has a new name, but same IP address

  7. kiawah51 - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:27 PM

    got a closer who won’t get to close because we cant score. Way to go rizzo

  8. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:28 PM

    Hey beat reports…

    Ask MW why Rivero went out a 3rd?

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:31 PM

      Tanner is your long man, right…. why did he only go 2?

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:29 PM

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:33 PM

      Bryce had legit beef. Pitch look like it touched the plate and then came off…

      I would be more upset with Bryce if we lost due to poor OF play… I just want MW to EXPLAIN why Rivero went out a 3rd time…. cuz im still trying to figure that out.

      Nats offense had its chances…. im also trying to figure out what the heck MAT was doing.. I mean, just some terrible at bats…

      • thisizit - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:36 PM

        Bryce can’t get thrown out there.

        MAT showing he’s not quite ready.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:37 PM

        We had 16 k. Way to many.

        Worse was Roark’s foul bunt. Lobo on second had Rendon single would have scored a run

        Take it back MAT swinging at 3 out of zone was worse.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:43 PM

        I agree, thisizit, BH34 can’t get ejected… im just saying, personally ally, I’m not as upset as others Becuz OF play wasnt why we lost…

        He absolutely has to stay in..

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:24 AM

        +1
        well, because he’s an arrogant stubborn a** who thinks he know it all as a sophomore manager (wise fool)
        no, wait…he’ll need them tomorrow when the Nats are up by runs….that’s when you use your best pitchers, of course.
        Rosenthal is right to write another article on how not to manage a bullpen like he did last year during the playoffs.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:29 AM

        I have wondered about MW’s reliever choices since the mid last year when I had to get Costco size Malox to finish watching a game (read Soriano). Getting Pap did not “fix” the BP … It fixed the hole left by Clippard. Nats offense? What is that? Two runs in two games. Gee … Seems like October again ….

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:33 PM

      Tell me why pitch 5 called a strike 5?

      No excuse for Harper.

      No excuse for Meals calling it a strike either,

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:25 AM

        Answer the question….tell me why you use Rivero for 3 innings.

    • chaz11963 - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:18 AM

      Thanks Steve, says it all. Incredible inconsistency by that ump. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but almost like he wanted to call Bryce out.

  10. manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:31 PM

    MASN cur away from MW and the question one of asked. Idiots.

  11. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:32 PM

    Matt says there were relievers unavailable. He said it was “obvious” who they were. I assume Storen was one, but I can’t imagine why Janssen or Thornton would be unavailable. It’s not like they’ve pitched a ton lately.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:35 PM

      I agree that way a coy answer that was a little smart ass as far as I am concerned.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:26 AM

        an arrogant smart a**…he has jerk written all over his bald head and sh** eating grin

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:39 PM

      That doesn’t cut it for me MW…. cuz it wasn’t Obvious…. where was Thorton… where was Jansen. Only 1 not available should have been Storen…

      Try again MW….

  12. ogremj - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:36 PM

    Looking forward to deGrom and Cespedes tmrw! Ugh……

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:30 AM

      yes, but much of our bullpen would be available when we are down by 5 runs

  13. thisizit - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:37 PM

    Great battle between Werth and Clipp. Loved it. Good pitching all around. Really bad at-bats by MAT.

  14. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:41 PM

    Btw good to see you David P… said earlier, I hadn’t seen you in a while..

  15. kiawah51 - Jul 31, 2015 at 11:45 PM

    when you can only get one run off dan harran that says it all. What do you thinks gonna happen against quality pitchers. Same as last two years. Deja vu. We can’t hit and pitching overrated. Rizzo sold the cool aid and everyones believing it.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:01 AM

      So quit watching them and watch avtwam that hits. I suggest the Blue Jats. I watch their games their fun.

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:02 AM

      Most teams don’t–that’s why it is called “good to great pitching.” Duh.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:08 AM

      The way your talking you don’t like them in DC.

      If you like a team you don’t talk like you do when they are in first place.

    • skincapwiznat - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:17 AM

      But teams do score on them. They’re ERA’s aren’t 0. I just wouldn’t bet on the Nats to be one of those teams.

    • skincapwiznat - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:19 AM

      I’m frustrated man. I don’t have the same positive energy you do. I want to WIN. That’s all that matters. Winning. I HATE losing. I want the teams I follow to win so bad that it destroys me every time they lose. I hate it. Wish you’d understand.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:28 AM

      thank you Secret Wasian Man.

    • skincapwiznat - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:33 AM

      Your welcome Quad Child

    • chaz11963 - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:24 AM

      @skincapwiznat you need to follow a different sport if you HATE losing so much. Baseball is a game tight margins. Good teams are in the .560 win percentages. The elite players in the game succeed only once out of every three times. I suggest you try soccer.

  16. manassasnatsfan - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:07 AM

    LaRoche pitched a scoreless 9th, then singled in the bottom of the 9th

    • conatsguy - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:40 AM

      Say what? Had to go to MLB to check the box score..

      He had a strikeout too. Dang.

  17. Karl Kolchak - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:07 AM

    The last two nights nave convinced me even more than Ryan Zimmerman is the key to how far this team will go this season. Bryce needs protection–and even career average offensive production from RZ would not only provide that protection but boost the offense considerably down the stretch and into the playoffs.

    • conatsguy - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:43 AM

      + 1 FOF is the wildcard here. Looking forward to see how that plays out. Good comment😎

  18. manassasnatsfan - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:31 AM

    Mrs B mark NcGwire chewed Puig for swinging at a first pitch.

    Next time he didn’t do it.

  19. conatsguy - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    Jeez..Can you narrow down your team?? This was a great game. Get over it.

    • skincapwiznat - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:35 AM

      Dude I want to win. They lost. Not a good game.

  20. conatsguy - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:16 AM

    This is going to be a great divisional series. I can’t wait for the next game.

    Those who are faint of heart, take a chill pill, and really try to enjoy the roller coaster ride.

    GYFNG!

    • rlndtln - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:35 AM

      We got to see our team in a pressure game that reminded me of the playoffs last year against the Giants.We just do not hit.As much as I love MAT he was awful.MW can not manage.The Mets were playing the game like it was the 7th game of the WS and us a game in May.Rivero pitching against there lefties was fine but 3 innings.I guess he was staying out there until the Mets won.My issue with us keeping Uggla over denDeker showed last night.Uggla has no role.den Deker can pinch run,play left field late in a game as Jason is not a great defender.Uggla is a poor defender and we have Danny ahead of him defensively and Danny and TYMO as right handed pinch hitters.

  21. rlndtln - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:38 AM

    Also the game was decided in the 7th inning when Jason led off with a double.Bryce is now 0-17 against Harvey.If it ever was time for Bryce to drag a bunt past the pitcher it war then.To do something outside the box to get Jason to 3rd with one out.That was the ball game right there.Bryce had to get the runner to 3rd.

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