Flushing, NY—The Washington Nationals have adopted Citi Field as their home away from home. Washington’s 7-1 win over the Mets was their ninth straight victory in Flushing. The Nationals have not lost a game at the Mets “home” park since June 29, 2013.
On Monday night, Washington starter Doug Fister exhibited his mastery over the New Yorkers. Fister blanked the Mets, yielding only seven hits in seven innings on the mound. The right-hander did not issue a walk, but fanned three to earn his sixth win in his last seven contests. The California native raised his impressive 2014 record to 12-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.34.
After the game, the modest starting pitcher gave credit to his teammates for the victory. He began by praising the offense, “The best thing is our offense came out early and opened it up.” He also spoke good words about Washington’s excellent defense, “This is a team game. I can only do so much, release the ball. It’s a matter of executing and seeing the defense work.”
Fister faced the Mets for the first time less than one year ago, and in that time defeated them without difficulty in all three games he pitched. He gained two wins over them in his most recent two starts. The 30 year old gave up only one earned run in 20.2 innings during the three games.
Home runs drove in all of Washington’s seven runs. The first came off the bat of Bryce Harper in the second frame. The 21 year old now playing in this third major league season knocked in the first two runs of the contest with his fifth long ball of the season. His number of homers is low because he has missed 57 games with a left thumb injury.
Anthony Rendon opened the sixth with his 16th home run of the 2014 campaign. After issuing a base on balls to the next batter, Adam LaRoche, Mets starter Rafael Montero offered a fat pitch, on a 2-0 count, to Ian Desmond that the shortstop parked into the left field stands for his 20th home run of the season.
That pitch was Montero’s last of the game, but the change of Met pitchers from Montero to Carlos Torres did not alter the scenario. After retiring one batter, Torres gave up a single to Wilson Ramos, which was followed by a Michael Taylor home run.
Taylor, a 23 year old outfielder, was making his never to be forgotten MLB debut. In his first at bat, in the second, he singled up the middle. He admitted, I was a little nervous.” After the first hit, he “was just trying to breathe, relax and enjoy it.” He topped that with his first home run in the sixth which drove in two runs. His plan was not to hit the ball out of the park but “going up there just trying to get a good ball to hit.” The Florida native said of the game, “It’s definitely better than I imagined.”
His manager, Matt Williams, was happy he was with the team and spoke of him with high respect, “It’s fantastic. The bench was real excited. He’s worked his way to be here. It’s certainly a memory he’ll remember forever. Having a good game is icing on the cake. “
Fister, the winning pitcher spoke of Taylor’s accomplishment with more emotion than of his own, “He’s a great kid, working his butt off. That’s [Taylor’s game] something special. That’s what you want to see.”