Game in a nutshell: In the opener of their latest big series against a division foe, the Nationals found themselves in a wacky, extra-inning thriller. They managed to blow a 3-0 lead when Jordan Zimmermann gave up a pair of sixth-inning homers and then Sean Burnett and Craig Stammen combined to give up a pair of runs in the eighth. Then they stormed back to tie it on Ian Desmond's RBI single. Then they nearly blew it on Henry Rodriguez's ninth wild pitch of the season. They they nearly won it in the bottom of the 10th thanks to some terrible Mets defense, yet could only tie it up and send this one further into the night. Then Scott Hairston's homer off Ross Detwiler (the last man standing in the Nats' bullpen) to lead off the 12th put the Mets in position yet again to win it. Except the Nationals once again had an answer in the bottom of the 12th. Michael Morse and Ian Desmond each doubled to tie it, then Jesus Flores and Detwiler walked to load the bases, then Bryce Harper won it with a base hit to left and put the Nationals in sole possession of first place in the NL East.
Hitting lowlight: Rough night for Rick Ankiel. And he only played four innings. In that span, however, the veteran outfielder popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, struck out in the bottom of the ninth and then struck out in the bottom of the 10th. With the bases loaded. After getting ahead in the count 3-0. Perhaps it was best that Davey Johnson double-switched Ankiel out of the game after that.
Pitching highlight: For five innings, Zimmermann looked as sharp as he's ever been in his career. The right-hander was efficient, mixed in mid-90s fastballs with an assortment of breaking balls and stayed ahead in the count all night. He's only reached the eighth inning once before as a professional, and it looked like he might get there in this one. But a couple of mistakes in the sixth -- the home-run pitches to Valdespin and Wright -- ultimately cost Zimmermann a chance to go deep into the game. In the end, he had to settle for merely a run-of-the-mill quality start. Which, as it turned out, wasn't good enough.
Key stat: When he crossed the plate on his sixth-inning homer, Wright became the Mets' all-time leader with 736 runs scored. The previous franchise record holder? Jose Reyes.
Up next: The series continues Wednesday night when Edwin Jackson faces rookie right-hander Jeremy Hefner. First pitch at Nationals Park is at 7:05 p.m.