The Washington Nationals showed the New York Mets what dominant pitching and a productive offense is capable of on Wednesday night when right-handed starting pitcher Doug Fister led the Nats to a 7-1 win over New York. Fister’s delayed start on the season may have slowed him up slightly in the beginning but he’s now 11-3 in 2014 with signs of slowing down.
Fister gave up six hits and struck out seven batters over seven and one-third innings pitched. He threw 101 pitches (69 strikes) and gave up one unearned run in the eighth inning after cruising through the rest of the game. Fister was so efficient on the mound that the game itself only lasted two hours and thirty one minutes. And these days, a sub-three hour game is rare, so that was a gem in and of itself as well.
Washington helped Fister’s case by scoring early with a three-run rally in the first inning. Leadoff man and outfielder Denard Span grounded out but the heart of the Nats lineup made their mark to make up for that. Third baseman Anthony Rendon hit a one-out double off Mets left-handed starter Johnathon Niese. He would then score on a shallow bloop single hit to right field by outfielder Jayson Werth before first baseman Adam LaRoche crushed his first homerun of the night to tack on two more runs; Mets 0, Nats 3.
The Nats would add three more runs in the sixth inning when the bottom half of the order – which has been slumping a bit as of late – including shortstop Ian Desmond, outfielder Bryce Harper, and second baseman Danny Espinosa all scored to give the Nats a 6-0 lead over New York. Desmond reached on a one-out single hit off Niese before stealing second with Harper at the dish. Harper proceeded to draw a walk before Espinosa hit a laser three-run homer adding to Washington’s shutout lead; Mets 0, Nats 6.
New York did end up scoring one run in the eighth inning when outfielder Juan Lagares scored off a single hit by second baseman Daniel Murphy off the newest Nats pitcher left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. Let it be said, though, that Thornton’s National League debut after being picked up off waviers from the New York Yankees was strong. He may have contributed to Fister’s one unearned run on the starter’s pitching line for the night but the power-lefty consistently hit 96-97 mph and is a solid addition to Washington’s bullpen; Mets 1, Nats 6.
To end the night, LaRoche went long one more time with a leadoff homer in the eighth in response to New York’s run. Left-handed reliever Ross Detwiler finished it off by striking out the leadoff batter in the ninth, giving up a single to Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud, and then enducing a pair of pop outs to Steven Souza, Jr. in right field (Note: Werth started in right for the night but was removed in the seventh due to minor right shoulder soreness from a strange swing taken a week ago, he’s expected to be just fine); Mets 1, Nats 7.