Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez and R.A. Dickey square off again, this time at Citi Field.
Dickey, meanwhile, hasn't lost any of his last 16 starts. He's 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA this season against the Nats, who like everyone else in the NL this season have had all kinds of trouble with the veteran knuckleballer.
Plenty of updates to come, so please check back often...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Isolated storms, 70 degrees, Wind 15 mph LF to RF
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Danny Espinosa
CF Roger Bernadina
C Jesus Flores
LHP Gio Gonzalez
CF Andres Torres
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
RF Scott Hairston
1B Ike Davis
LF Jason Bay
SS Ronny Cedeno
C Mike Nickeas
RHP R.A. Dickey
HP David Rackley
1B Jim Wolf
2B Derryl Cousins (cc)
3B Alan Porter
6:55 p.m. -- Before we get started: Here's my just-posted report on the Nats and their level of interest in acquiring another infielder before next week's trade deadline. (Hint: It's not very high.)
7:15 p.m. -- We're underway and R.A. Dickey's knuckleball is up to its old tricks already. He struck out both Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper to get the game started. Ryan Zimmerman (who hits everything these days) singled up the middle, but Michael Morse tapped a routine grounder to short, ending the top of the first and sending Gio Gonzalez to the mound.
7:21 p.m. -- And there's a 6-pitch bottom of the first for Gio Gonzalez, who cruised through the top of the Mets lineup with as much ease as possible. Can't ask for anything better than that.
7:45 p.m. -- The Nats came as close to throwing out a basestealer as they have in a long time. Of course, close doesn't count for anything in that regard. And that stolen base (by Scott Hairston) wound up costing the Nats when Ronny Cedeno laced a two-out, two-strike single to right, bringing Hairston (who originally reached on Danny Espinosa's throwing error) around with the night's first run. Harper did fire a strike to second base to get Cedeno, but not until after Hairston crossed the plate. So after two, the Nats trail 1-0.
7:51 p.m. -- Three innings down and the Nats haven't looked comfortable at all trying to hit Dickey's knuckleball. He's allowed only Zimmerman's first-inning single and a walk to Adam LaRoche. Otherwise, he's dominated, striking out five (including Bryce Harper twice).
7:55 p.m. -- Only 33 pitches (22 strikes) for Gio through three strong innings. What, is he trying to mold himself after John Lannan and Ross Detwiler all of a sudden? Whatever the case, it's working. Though the Nats still trail 1-0.
8:38 p.m. -- So, I just spent the last three innings in the stands with an old friend. Did I miss anything interesting? What, the Nats have scored five runs, including four in the sixth, to knock Dickey out of the game? Sweet Fancy Moses! Quite an unexpected explosion there, especially Adam LaRoche's second-deck homer on a knuckleball. Jesus Flores' two-run single helped as well, and gives a nice 5-1 cushion for Gio, who has been incredibly efficient as we head to the bottom of the sixth.
8:45 p.m. -- Meanwhile, Gio is through six sparkling innings on only 67 pitches. Really impressive stuff from the lefty.
9:01 p.m. -- Seven innings in the books, with Gio now sitting on 87 pitches. He got into a little trouble just now but calmly pitched his way out of it. The question now becomes: Will Davey Johnson let him return for the eighth? He had Ryan Mattheus warming in case things got out of hand in the seventh. But the way Gio is cruising, he certainly looks capable of at least starting the eighth, right? Still 5-1, by the way.
9:12 p.m. -- Tyler Moore pinch-hit for Gonzalez in the top of the eighth, so that's it for the lefty. What a start it was: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 87 pitches, 53 strikes. Perhaps his best start of the season, all things considered?
9:18 p.m. -- Uh-oh, Jordany Valdespin enters as a pinch-hitter, and you know what that means. Yep, leadoff homer off Ryan Mattheus. Seriously, why would Terry Collins ever start that guy? Just save him for the most important at-bat of the game and then take the guaranteed home run! Davey, meanwhile, has seen enough of Mattheus. He's out after one batter, and in comes Sean Burnett for what is now a 5-2 game.
9:25 p.m. -- Burnett gets three groundball outs, so the eighth inning is complete. Tyler Clippard will begin warming for the ninth, with the Nats still up three runs.
9:35 p.m. -- OK, here we go. Clippard in from the pen for the bottom of the ninth, the Nats up 5-2.
9:43 p.m. -- Ballgame. The Nats win 5-2 and improve to 18 games over .500 for the first time this season.