Postgame analysis of the Nats' 7-1 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday night at Citi Field.
How it happened: It appears the Nationals' offense isn't broken after all. Following three games in which they combined to score just two runs, the Nationals' lineup exploded on Wednesday night in their 7-1 win over the Mets, a series-tying victory that keeps the Nats in first place for another day.
It took a few innings for the Nats to do some real damage despite an off-night for Mets starter Bartolo Colon. Colon allowed 11 baserunners, but until the fifth inning had given up just one run. The Nats stranded seven runners through four innings against Colon and appeared to once again be blowing opportune scoring chances. In the fifth, though, they plated two runs on an Anthony Rendon single and they then added four more against the Mets bullpen. It wasn't pretty at times, but the Nats' lineup got it done and gave Gio Gonzalez more than enough help to secure the win.
What it means: The Nationals moved to 24-16 on the season and ensured they will leave this series with a lead in the division over the Mets, who are now 1 1/2 games back at 22-17. The Nats also moved a half-game ahead of the surprising Phillies with Wednesday night's win. Thursday will give the Nats a chance to win their second straight series against the Mets dating back to last season and their fourth win in six meetings overall.
Gio keeps dominating the Mets: It was another strong outing for Gonzalez against the Mets to continue a career trend. After Wednesday night, Gio is now 10-4 with a 2.59 ERA in 107 2/3 total innings across 18 starts against New York. Sure, the Mets have fielded some lean lineups over the years, but that's impressive. Gio also boasts a 1.20 ERA in five starts against New York since the beginning of last year. On Wednesday, Gio went 6 1/3 innings with one earned run on a homer, five hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Gio made it through the sixth inning for the first time in three starts and left the mound with a 1.86 ERA on the season.
Colon loses command: Whether it had anything to do with his eventful day off the field or not, Colon was just not the same guy we had seen thus far this year. Before this game, Colon had walked just four batters in 41 1/3 total innings this season. But on Wednesday he walked four batters in just his first 2 2/3 innings pitched. The 42-year-old ended up with five walks in all, the most he's given up since April 26, 2005 when he was with the Angels. He hadn't allowed four walks in a start since June 11, 2013 when he was with the Athletics. Colon also gave up five hits and hit a batter and all of this happened in 4 2/3 innings of work. The Nats probably should have scored more than the three runs they got off of him.
Werth, Rendon come through: When manager Dusty Baker swapped Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth in the No. 2 and No. 6 spots in the lineup before Tuesday's game, there really wasn't much data backing the move. Both players were struggling through six weeks and it seemed to be a change just for change's sake. On Wednesday, though, Rendon and Werth made Dusty look like a genius. Rendon had two hits to notch his fourth multi-hit game in his last eight outings. He also had two walks, a run and two RBI, the first time this season he's driven in multiple runs in a game. Werth reached base five times in a game for the first time since Sept. 11, 2012. He doubled, drew three walks (1st time since Sept. 16, 2014), stole a base and scored a season-high three runs.
Harper keeps on walking: The Nats drew 11 walks in total on Wednesday night to tie a team record and four of those were issued to Bryce Harper. It was the second time this season he's walked four or more times and the fourth time of his career he's accomplished the feat. Harper now has an MLB-best 45 walks in 39 games, a 187-walk pace over a full 162-game season. That's just insane. Harper is on pace for 182 walks this year which would give him the third-best season of all-time in the category. Barry Bonds has the record at 232 (2004) and the second-most of 198 (2002).
Revere still searching: Revere went hitless with an 0-for-5 night on Wednesday, his sixth hitless game in his last eight outings. Revere is now just 2-for-35 during this stretch and 5-for-50 since he returned from the disabled list on May 6. The Nats center fielder did score a run on Wednesday, though, as he came home on a Daniel Murphy sac fly in the seventh.
What's next: The Nationals close out their first series of 2016 against the Mets on Thursday night with another intriguing pitching matchup. We'll see Stephen Strasburg (6-0, 2.95) start opposite Matt Harvey (3-5, 4.98).