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Ross tops deGrom, but Mets top Nats


Ross tops deGrom, but Mets top Nats

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Jacob deGrom may be the reigning NL Rookie of the Year and may have been coming off a lights-out performance in the All-Star Game last week, but for six innings Tuesday night, Joe Ross was the more-impressive young right-hander on the mound at Nationals Park. Then came the top of the seventh, when this game abruptly turned in the Mets' favor and continued down that path until it was too late for the Nats to recover.

Eric Campbell's 2-run single to right off Aaron Barrett (who was brought in to replace Ross) turned a 1-run Nationals lead into a 1-run Nationals deficit. That clutch hit came shortly after first baseman Clint Robinson couldn't handle a grounder to his left, an error that set in motion the Mets' go-ahead rally. Poor defense became a common theme late, with Bryce Harper overthrowing the plate by 20 feet on the decisive hit and Matt den Dekker's throw to second base skipping past Danny Espinosa to help set in motion the Mets' 4-run rally in the top of the ninth that put the game out of reach.

Ross had been fantastic, allowing one run over his first six innings and out-pitching deGrom, who was no slouch himself in allowing just two runs (on Wilson Ramos' homer) during his six innings of work. But with his teammates unable to mount anything more at the plate, Ross was left to take a hard-luck loss.

The Nationals, meanwhile, looked mighty sloppy in the field one night after playing their best defensive game of the season. And so they have seen their lead in the NL East drop back to 2 games entering Wednesday afternoon's series finale.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: For a brief while, it looked like Ramos would be the offensive star of the night. The Nats catcher had only 10 hits over his previous 64 at-bats, only two of them for extra bases. But he managed to stay back on deGrom's 98-mph fastball over the outside corner and drilled it to right field, just over the wall for a 2-run homer. That's the kind of swing Ramos consistently shows when he's in a good groove at the plate, and it's the kind of swing he hasn't shown much of late. If that's a sign of things to come, the Nationals will be all the better for it.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Making his first big-league start in a month, Ross picked up right where he left off. The 22-year-old right-hander was aggressive, going right at New York's hitters, using his fastball and slider effectively and not looking at all unprepared for the moment. His only real hiccup came in the top of the fourth, when he needed 29 pitches to get out of a jam with only one run scoring. Yes, two more runs scored in the top of the seventh, but that was a direct result of Robinson's fielding error and then the 2-run single Barrett allowed to Campbell. In the end, Ross allowed two earned runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking none and striking out four ... yet took the loss. Tough outcome for the rookie on this night.

KEY STAT: With an 0-for-3 performance Tuesday, Bryce Harper has gone hitless in in back-to-back games for the first time since May 4-5 vs. the Marlins.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday with another great pitching matchup. It's Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.27) for the Nats and Noah Syndergaard (4-5, 3.05) for the Mets.

RELATED: Williams on Ripken helping Desmond; Taylor on his catch

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.