Washington Nationals starter John Lannan’s instant karma baffled the Mets’ offense Monday night as he allowed just a single hit over seven innings of work en route to a 7-2 victory.
The Mets’ loss reduced their N.L. East lead to just a half-game and also put a damper on my first-ever trip to Nationals Park. But oh well, it was an enjoyable evening and I was able to snag a batting practice home run ball, score a few autographs baseballs for my kids and take a bunch of great pictures.
The game also prolonged two dubious streaks: The team extended its seemingly never-ending stretch of games without a no-hitter to 7,469 and the franchise fell to 0-8 in “Sept. 15” games played this decade. I should have researched this newly discovered Sept. 15 curse (the Mets are now 9-33 on that date) before I committed to that particular game.
I was excited to see Pedro Martinez pitch, though his performance was mediocre at best. He allowed four earned runs on eight hits and four walks over six innings. He seemed to be tire by the sixth, and after allowing Nats’ baserunners to reach second and third that inning, he gave up a two-run single to former Met prospect Anderson Hernandez to give Washington a 4-1 lead.
Ricardo Rincon seemed destined to keep the Mets close in the seventh, but Jerry Manuel pulled Rincon after he retired the first two batters. In came Duaner Sanchez, who gave up a walk, a single and then a three-run homer to Elijah Dukes to sew up the Mets’ loss.
The entire Nationals pitching staff held David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado hitless, and the rest of the team managed just five hits during the game.
Nationals Park is a beautiful stadium, though don’t arrive early as there’s not a single sportsbar or restaurant anywhere around the stadium – at least until Half Street gets developed in 2009. The seats in the lower bowl all give a great view, and the outdoor concourses are wide and easy to navigate.