Postgame analysis of the Nats' 1-0 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park.
How it happened: Where Wilson Ramos ranks among catchers in Major League Baseball is up for debate. Whether he is the best at celebrating home runs is not.
The Nationals backstop obliterated an 89 mile per hour fastball from Mets reliever Fernando Salas with one out in the seventh to break a scoreless tie on Wednesday afternoon, and he watched it the entire way. Ramos stepped slowly out of the box, dropped his bat and did his signature hop-and-skip before jogging to first base as the ball sailed into the restaurant tables in left-center field.
It was an emphatic breakthrough for the Nationals' offense, which had little luck against Mets starter Robert Gsellman for much of the afternoon. Gsellman threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings before he was removed after just 77 pitches in favor of a lefty-lefty matchup. It was just one inning later that Ramos left the park for his 21st homer of the season.
Nationals starter Tanner Roark tossed seven shutout innings with just three hits allowed. He did give up for walks to tie a season-high, but they didn't hurt him.
Trea Turner had two hits in the win. Ramos, Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman and Roark each had one. Blake Treinen pitched a perfect eighth inning to bridge the Nats to the ninth where closer Mark Melancon shut the door for his 12th save as a member of the Nationals. It was Melancon's fifth appearance in a mater of six days, which could be something to keep in mind going forward.
The Nationals got back on track and have now won eight of their last 10. They finished their head-to-head season series against the Mets at 12-7.
What it means: The Nats moved to 87-59 on the season and dropped their magic number to win the NL East to seven. They are up 10 games in the division with 16 left to play. Their 87 wins are the third-most in team history (2005-present).
Murphy gets another hit: If the Mets are to hold Murphy hitless in a regular season game, it will have to come after this year, as Murphy closed the 2016 head-to-head series with hits in all 19 games against his former team. On Wednesday, it was a single to center field in the first inning that sealed that sealed the feat. Through those 19 games, Murphy went 31-for-75 (.413) with seven homers, 21 RBI, 14 runs, six doubles, five walks and a possibly few regrets for the Mets' front office.
One of Murphy's walks came in this game, as reliever Josh Smoker intentionally walked Murphy to face Harper in the bottom of the sixth. Smoker got Harper to go down looking to end the frame. Harper's been playing better lately, but the Mets would much rather face him than Murphy with the way this season has gone.
Roark goes seven scoreless: This was the ninth time this season that Roark has thrown seven or more scoreless innings in a start, more than any other MLB pitcher. It was the 17th time in 30 starts this year that Roark has pitched seven innings or more and his season ERA now sits at 2.75. That's good for fifth in baseball.
The Nats right-hander was able to work his way out of several jams, including in the first inning when the Mets loaded the bases with one out. Roark then got Jay Bruce to strike out looking and T.J. Rivera to fly out to right field on a sliding catch in foul territory by Harper. Roark also escaped the sixth inning by getting Rivera to ground into a double play. It was the 27th double play for Roark this season, which ranks third in MLB.
Turner gets two again: It is more often than not that Turner gets at least two hits in a game. With his two singles on Wednesday, Turner now has 29 multi-hit games in 57 total outings, 54 of them starts. That means that 54 percent of the time he starts, he gets at least two hits. That's a decent clip.
Turner, though, got caught stealing after one of those hits, in the first inning. It was the fourth time he's been thrown out this year, but just the first time he was called out without the help of replay. Turner is fast, but he met his match on this particular day in Mets catcher Rene Rivera, who also got Harper trying to steal second.
Up next: The Nats are off Thursday before moving on to Atlanta to play the Braves. Friday night will have a 7:35 p.m. first pitch with Max Scherzer (16-7, 2.78) set to face right-hander John Gant (1-3, 4.40).
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